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(Second Series) 

Informal self-portraits of famous 
modem Catholic writers, edited 
with preface and notes 



folly illustrated by portraits 



Copyright, 1943 


Publishers of 

The Guide to Catholic Literature 
The American Catholic Who’s Who 
The Book of Catholic Authors 
The Catholic Bookman 




Founder and Director 

The Gallery of Living Catholic Authors 


TO BRING CATHOLIC WRITERS before their audience — informally, 
genially, conversationally, in as much like a personal visit as 
possible — such is the purpose of this series of literary autobiogra- 

Each of the fifty-eight chapters in this second series of The 
Book of Catholic Authors, even those written in the third person, 
was written by the author himself. The one exception is the 
chapter on the late Father O’Donnell, C.S.C. 

The writers in this volume vary in the amount and the precise- 
ness of the factual autobiographical detail they give. Readers 
who desire more are referred to the current edition of The 
American Catholic Who*s Who. And those who wish for more 
material on each of the author’s books are referred to The Guide 
to Catholic Literature, 1888-1940, and, when it shall be ready, 
its first permanent supplement. The Guide, 1940-1948. 

The third series of The Book of Catholic Authors is nearly 
ready for press. 

To all who have shared in the making of these volumes, and 
particularly my wife, 1 express my thanks. 

W. R. 


of the first and this second series; the sketches of the names in- 
dented below being in the former 

Anson, Peter F. 

Attwater, Donald 
Baldus, Simon A. 

Barab^, Rev. Paul, O.M.I. 

Bedier, Sister Julie 
Beebe, Robb and Catherine 
Benvenisti, J. L. 

Benz, Rev. Francis 
Blount, Mrs. George. See 

Blunt, Rev. Hugh 
Boyton, Rev. Neil, S.J. 
Br^gy, Katherine 
Brennan, Rev. Gerald 
Brown, Rev. Stephen, S.J. 
Bruehl, Rev. Charles 
Callan, Rev. Charles, O.P. 
Carr, Mary Jane 
Carroll, Rev. Patrick, C.S.C. 
Chavez, Fra Angelico, O.F.M. 
Clifton, Mrs. Violet 
Confrey, Burton 
Croft, Aloysius 
Daly, Rev. James, S.J. 

Daly, Thomas A. 

Dinnis, Enid 

Donnelly, Rev. Francis, S.J. 
Drinkwater, Rev. Francis H. 
Dudley, Rev. Owen Francis 
Dunne, Rev. Gerald W. E. 
Eliot, Ethel Cook 

Ellard, Rev. Gerald, S.J. 
Ellerker, Marie St. S. 
Famum, Mabel A. 

Fides, Sister. See Glass 
Fitzgerald, Rev. Gerald, 

Fitzgerald, R. Brassil 
Flick, Ella M. E. 

Furfey, Rev. Paul H. 
Garraghan, Rev. Gilbert, S.J. 
Glass, Sister M. Fides 
Goldstein, David 
Graves, William W. 

Guilday, Rt. Rev. Peter 
Habig, Rev. Marion, O.F.M. 
Haiman, Miecislaus 
Hawks, Rt. Rev. Edward 
Hayes, Rev. James M. 

Heagney, Rev. Harold 
Helfen, Rev. Mathias 
Hennrich, Rev. Kilian, O.F.M. 

Herbst, Rev. Winfrid, S.D.S. 
Hurley, Doran 

Husslein, Rev. Joseph, S.J. 
Iswolsky, Helen 
Jordan, Elizabeth 

Juliana, Sister. See Bedier. 
Kelley, Bishop Francis C. 
Kenny, Rev. Michael, S.J. 



Kernan, Julia 
Kiely, Mary 

Kienberger, Rev. Vincent, O.P. 
Krull, Rev. Virgil, C.PP.S. 

Lahey, Rev. Thomas, C.S.G. 
Lamers, William M. 

Lavery, Emmet 
LeBuflEe, Rev. Francis, S.J. 
Loei^nstein, Prince 
Lord, Rev. Daniel, S.J. 
McAllister, Anna S. 
McCarthy, Rev. Raphael, S.J. 
McCullagh, Francis 

McElhone, Rev. James, C.S.C. 
Madeleva, Sister M., C.S.C. 
Magaret, Helene 
Magner, Rev. James 
Mary Paula, Sister 
Maynard, Theodore 
Miller, J. Corson 
Miriam, Sister, R.S.M. 

Moffatt, Rev. John, S.J. 
Moody, John 

Mullaly, Rev. Charles, S.J. 
Murphy, Rev. Edward, S.S.J. 
Neill, Esther 
Newcomb, Covelle 
Norman, Mrs. George 
O’Brien, Rev. John A. 
O’Donnell, Rev. Charles, C.S.C. 
Page, Father. See Fitzgerald. 

Perkins, Mary 
Quirk, Rev. Charles, S.J. 
Roemer, Rev. Theodore, 

Ross, Eva J. 

Ross, Rev. J. Elliot 
Ryan, Rt. Rev. John A. 
Sargent, Daniel 
Savage, Courtenay 
Schmiedeler, Rev. Edgar, O.S.B. 

Selwin-Tait, Monica 
Semper, Rev. I. J. 

Specking, Inez 
Sturzo, Don Luigi 
Sutherland, Halliday 
Talbot, Rev. Francis, S.J. 
Thompson, Blanche 
Thorning, Rev. Joseph 
Trouncer, Margaret 
Van Stockum, Hilda 
Waggaman, Mary T. 

Walsh, Louis J. 

Watt, Rev. Lewis, S.J. 

Whalen, Rev. Will W. 
Windeatt, Mary F. 

Wirries, Mary M. 
Wynhoven, Rt. Rev. Peter 
Wynne, Rev. John, S.J. 

Yeo, Margaret 
Young, Cecilia 
Young, Frances 


^ f 


MR. ANSON is the son of a British admiral and collaterally de* 
scended from Admiral George Anson, the famous 18 th century 
navigator, often known as the Father of the British Navy. Mr. 
Anson’s mother, Evelyn Ross, granddaughter of Horatio Ross of 
Rossie Castle, Angus, passed on to him the love of her native 
Scotland, not to mention her love of the sea and ships. For, as 
Peter Anson will tell you, his father, though a sailor by profession, 
took no interest in nautical life, except so far as it was his **job” 
for over forty years. It was from his mother and grandfather 
(a pupil of Landseer) that he must have inherited his talent as 
a painter and draughtsman, for it is related that this celebrated 
19th century artist once remarked that if Horatio Ross had 
chosen to become a professional painter of animals, Landseer 
might have remained unknown. Peter Anson’s literary bent 
may have been handed down from his father’s maternal grand- 
father, Lord Vernon of Sudbury, Derbyshire, for if one consults 
the catalogue of the British Museum Library the list of authors 
will reveal very few references to Ansons. Lord Vernon was one 



of the greatest authorities on Dante and was given the honor 
(rare for a foreigner) of being made a member of the celebrated 
Florentine Accademia della Crusca. 

Bom within the sight and sound of the sea at Portsmouth, 
England, on August 22, 1889, Anson’s boyhood was spent al- 
most entirely in dockyard towns. He began to draw ships long 
before he could read or write. His parents had planned that 
he should enter the Diplomatic Service, because he had shown 
a somewhat unusual gih for languages when he was at school. 
But this career made no appeal to the lad, and at the age of 
eighteen he was allowed to take up the study of architecture 
which he found much more congenial. Yet his love for the sea 
was stronger, and during those two years in London he spent 
most of his spare time with a sketch book on the reaches of the 
Lower Thames or in the docks. 

The Anson family were very devout adherents of the Church 
of England. Bishops, deans, and canons could be numbered 
among Peter’s near relations (incidentally, one of his first cousins 
married William Temple, the present Archbishop of Canter- 
bury); so it must have given them rather a shock when he an- 
nounced that he had decided to abandon an architectural career 
and was going to enter the novitiate of the Anglican Benedictine 
community on Caldey Island, South Wales. It was as a member 
of this community that he was received into the Catholic Church 
in 1913. He remained on as an Oblate Brother until 1924, 
when he was obliged to return to the world owing to a bad 
breakdown in health. It was during his last years as a Benedic- 
tine Oblate that he helped to found the now world-wide organi- 
zation of the Apostleship of the Sea for the spiritual welfare of 
Catholic seafarers, being organizing secretary from 1920 to 1924. 

It is not easy to start life afresh at the age of thirty-five, es- 
pecially when one has been a member of a religious community. 
For the next ten years Peter Anson had no permanent home. 
Much of that period was spent in foreign travel, especially in 
France and Italy, also at sea with fishermen and other classes of 
seafarers, British and foreign. He got to understand the life of 
French as well as of Scottish fishermen. He made a long voyage 



from Venice to Vancouver in an Italian freighter. For eighteen 
months he traveled about England and Scotland in a horse- 
drawn caravan. In another year he spent some months sketching 
in Palestine. There were also tours in Germany, Holland, 
Scandinavia, and Ireland. Then he collected first-hand informa- 
tion about the lives of deep sea fishermen by making several trips 
on the North Sea in steam trawlers. 

It was diuring the time that Mr. Anson lived in Italy that he 
joined the Third Order of St. Francis. He was clothed as a 
novice in the chapel of the Portiuncula, Assisi, and professed the 
following year in St. Clare’s choir in the little church of San 
Damiano. He found his true spiritual background as a Francis- 
can Tertiary, and likes to remember that he is descended through 
his Vernon ancestors from such illustrious members of the Third 
Order as St. Louis of France and St. Elizabeth of Portugal. 

As an artist he held his first exhibition of drawings and water 
colours of shipping in London, 1922. He followed this up with 
other exhibitions, mostly of Italian subjects. During the past 
twenty years he has been a fairly regular exhibitor at the Royal 
Academy, London. He is a founder member of the Society of 
Marine Artists. But he has not lost his interest in architecture, 
and has supervised the decoration of several Catholic churches 
in England and Scotland. 

In dealing with Peter Anson’s writings, it must be remembered 
that he is definitely an artist rather than an author. Most of 
his books and articles have been built up around his own draw- 
ings. He much prefers drawing and painting to writing. It 
will be noticed that all his published books deal with seafaring 
life in various countries or with ecclesiastical history, especially 
monasticism and church architecture. In temperament as well 
as in tastes, he has a good deal in common with the famous 
architect of the Gothic revival — ^Augustus Welby Pugin — ^who 
used to say that the sea and Christian architecture were the only 
things in life worth living for. 

After ten years of roving, Mr. Anson decided to make his 
home in the northeast of Scotland. Since 1936 he has lived in 
the midst of fisherfolk beside the busy harbour of Macduff. 



Strangers to the town generally take him for a retired sea cap- 
tain rather than an author-artist. 

Mr. Anson became an author rather through necessity of 
earning a living than from choice. He found that it paid him 
better to write books and articles; that there was a more certain 
market for them than for pictures and drawings. In recent years 
he has done very little painting, most of his artistic work being 
black and white drawings for illustrations of his own books and 
those of other authors. His most successful book is his latest 
effort. How to Draw Ships, the first edition of 20,000 copies being 
sold out within two months of publication. In addition to his 
books mentioned in the bibliography below, Mr. Anson has 
been a frequent contributor to many magazines: Pax, Franciscan 
Annals, The Month, The Sign, The Geographical Magazine, 
The Scots Magazine, The Fishing News, The Church and the 
People, UArtisan Liturgique; etc. His weekly feature. The 
Pilgrim’s Sketch Book, has appeared in The Universe (London), 
since 1928. He is the Scottish correspondent of The Catholic 
Herald (London), and contributes many reviews of books to this 

editor's note: Mr. Anson wrote the text and illustrated The Pilgrim's Guide 
to Franciscan Italy, 1927, Sands, Ftshmg Boats and Fisher Folk on the East 
Coast of Scotland, 19S0, Dent; Manners of Brittany, 1931, Dent; Fishermen 
and Fishing Ways, 1931, Harrap; A Pilgrim Artist in Palestine, 1931, Ouseley, 
The Quest of Solitude, 1932, Dent; Six Pilgrim's Sketch Books, 1934, Burns, 
Oates; The Story of the Apostleship of the Sea, 1938; The Caravan Pilgrim, 
1938, Heath, Cranton; The Scottish Fisheriesi Are They Doomed!, 1938, 
Oliver & Boyd; The Benedictines of Caldey, 1940, Bums, Oates; How to 
Draw Ships, 1941, The Studio, Ltd. Mr. Anson also illustrated Abbot Hunter- 
Blair's A Medley of Memories (1919) and A Last Medley of Memories (1935), 
G. P. Shaw’s The Old Story of a Highland Parish (isii^), and Anthony 
Rowe’s The Brown Carauan (1935). Mr. Anson has two books in manuscript: 
Churches: Their Plan and Furnishing, and. Fishermen of Britain, a work 
on British sea fisheries, past and present. 


DONALD ATTWATER WRS bom on Christmas Eve, 1892, in the county 
of Essex, England. His ancestors on his father’s side had been 
mariners for generations, and through his paternal grandmother 
he is related to the Cabots, well-known in the Isle of Jersey. His 
father, Walter, did not follow the sea but became a lawyer, and 
married into a family of country shopkeepers in his native 
county of Kent. 

Walter Attwater and his wife were devoted social workers, 
moved thereto by their Christian faith, first as members of the 
Wesleyan Methodist body and then of the Church of England. 
Together with the predominantly rural background of his up- 
bringing, these influences were decisively formative for their 
son. (He always remembers an unusual pair of portraits, on 
the walls of a room in his parents’ house, of the Nonconformist 
preacher Dr. Parker and of Cardinal Manning, who settled a 
famous dockers’ strike.) In addition, he was from early years 
an omnivorous reader, with the encouragement of his father. 
His special interests were history and drama. 



From private school Donald Attwater went to a public school 
(in the English sense of an institution which is anything but 
public!), he being the first member of his family to enjoy this 
questionable advantage. He stayed there only two years, leaving 
to be apprenticed in his father’s office at the age of sixteen. Mr. 
Attwater therefore is what many people would regard as prac- 
tically uneducated. 

He studied law for four years, during which time he played 
the fool — ^but not entirely. Just as Walter Attwater moved on 
from Methodism to the fuller Christianity of Anglicanism, so 
his son took the next and final step, and came into visible com- 
munion with the Catholic Church at the age of nineteen. Soon 
after, he joined the staff of a publisher’s office, where he began 
to learn the art of editing and to write an occasional article on 
elementary historical and literary topics. 

During the first World War, Donald Attwater served with the 
artillery and his duties took him to Egypt and Palestine. There 
he first came into contact with the Catholic churches of Eastern 
rite, with the great Orthodox communion, and the other oriental 
churches. These deeply impressed him; for they introduced the 
answer to the almost exclusively European ethos of the Universal 
Church as he had hitherto known it. This experience bore fruit 
over fifteen years later in books on The Catholic Eastern 
Churches and The Dissident Eastern Churches, on St. John 
Chrysostom, and other Eastern saints. These books were pub- 
lished in the United States (by the Bruce Company of Milwau- 
kee, on the recommendation of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Husslein, 
S.J.): there were not sufficient people in Great Britain intelligent 
enough to justify their publication in that country— or so Eng- 
lish publishers said. 

After the war, Mr. Attwater lived with his wife and family 
for a time on Caldey Island, off South Wales, where the abbot 
of the Benedictine monastery there asked him to edit its quar- 
terly review. Pax, temporarily for a few months. He did it, in 
fact, for six years, at the same time writing increasingly in the 
Catholic press of England and America. Under monastic in- 
fluence he began to get a better idea of the significance of cor- 



porate worship in Christian life and to appreciate the necessity 
of the liturgical movement. He wrote a good deal on this sub- 
ject and edited a popular liturgical monthly for the Caldey 
monks alongside of Pax. When St. John's Abbey in Minnesota 
began its Oratre Fratres about 1925, he was honoured by an 
invitation from the late Dom Virgil Michel to be its associate 
editor for England, and he has been a frequent contributor 
thereto ever since. 

The enterprise of a firm of general publishers (Cassell’s) in 
London conceived the project of a Catholic Encyclopedic Dic- 
tionary (called A Catholic Dictionary and published by Mac- 
millan in America). A wartime friendship with the editor of 
Cassell’s religious books department (who had been a Wesleyan 
military chaplain) led to its being entrusted to Mr. Attwater. 
He finished this big undertaking in 1931, and in the same year 
appeared his first full-length original work, a biography of the 
eccentric Anglican monk. Father Ignatius of Llanthony. The 
subject sounds unpromising, but the London Observer boosted 
it as “the raciest book of the season.” However, its sales were a 
flop, and Mr. Attwater was glad he had sold it outright. 

His second book did not follow for another three years. It 
was an account of The Catholic Church in Modern Wales. Both 
these books were prompted by personal local knowledge and 
contacts, and the first was helped by access to intimate docu- 
ments in private hands. In between these two books Mr. Att- 
water had been completing a work begun by the learned Father 
Herbert Thurston, S.J., viz., editing, rewriting and bringing up 
to date the twelve stout volumes of the standard Lives of the 
Saints written by Dr. Alban Butler in the eighteenth century. 
Mr. Attwater had no special qualifications for this task: it was 
offered to him because everyone else was frightened to take it on; 
and he accepted simply because he was hard up for money. 
However, he found it an exceedingly interesting and worthwhile 
job, and delivered his first (July) volume so quickly that the 
publisher’s editor was astonished. “You could have knocked 
me down with a bishop-and-martyr when I saw the manuscript 
on my desk!” he said. It also led to some useful work “on the 



side” — SL number of cognate articles, a Dictionary of Saints in 
1939, and a little book on Christian-names and patron-saints 
(Names and Name-Days) in the same year. 

In 1922 Mr. Attwater first met the late Eric Gill, the begin- 
ning of a close friendship that greatly widened and deepened 
Mr. Attwater’s interests. He began to concern himself with 
the “social question,” from the angle of religion and of human 
work rather than of politics. This, combined with his early up- 
bringing and his modest studies of Eastern Christianity and 
liturgies of worship, increasingly impressed on him the tragedy 
of disunity among Christians. He was no optimistic reunionist, 
but used pen and tongue to urge better understanding among 
Christians of different denominations through a spirit of friendly 
enquiry and by cooperation in social good works and study. He 
also undertook a “translation” into modern English of Lang- 
land's Vision Concerning Piers the Plowman, one of the best 
religious and social tracts ever written. This he would liked to 
have seen put out in a cheap edition for a large circulation; but 
the publisher decreed otherwise, and it appeared only in a hand- 
some but expensive volume and a limited number of copies. 

Mr. Attwater has done a number of translations in the ordi- 
nary sense, notably (from the French) several of Berdyaev's works 
— the first to appear in English (for example. The End of Our 
Time, Dostoievsky, Christianity and Class War), He is very 
glad to be the man whom Sheed 8c Ward chose to introduce 
Berdyaev to the English-speaking public. Translation is gen- 
erally poorly paid, but it is fascinating work and calls for a 
sensitive knowledge of the English language: the average level 
of translation of Catholic books (and many others) is deplorably 

When in 1934 new proprietors acquired The Catholic Herald, 
they began an experiment new in English journalism, viz., a 
general newspaper with a Catholic background. Mr. Attwater 
was invited to collaborate and he worked on the paper during 
its first critical years, being for a time its editor-in-chief. Later 
he was commissioned to bring the Herald*s associate papers in 
Scotland, notably The Glasgow Observer, more into line with 



the parent paper. This undertaking was interrupted by the 
outbreak of the war in 1939. 

Two years earlier, Mr. Attwater had visited the United States, 
an experience which he regards as one of the half-dozen that 
have permanently affected his life and ideas. It gave a new 
edge to his criticism of the particularism of so many European 
Catholics, and confirmed his opinion that the main hope for a 
civilization that respects human freedom and dignity lies in 
North America rather than Europe — ^and for this purpose he 
regards the British Isles as part of America. 

This was the time when The Commonweal was changing 
hands, and the new directors honoured Mr. Attwater by making 
him its only contributing editor in Great Britain. 

Donald Attwater never deliberately adopted writing as a pro- 
fession — ^he just drifted into it, and he has no pop-eyed venera- 
tion for this activity. It seems to him that it is a trade like any 
other; a means to an end. Just as carpentry is the means to the 
production of chairs and tables, so writing is the means to the 
recording and spreading of facts, ideas and so forth, which the 
writer flatters himself, may be of interest and use to his fellow 
human beings. He urges aspirants to writing first of all to be 
sure that they have something which they think is worth saying; 
then to say it, as shortly, as simply, as plainly as they can. To 
worry about “self-expression” is to court failure. The writer's 
business is to express not self, but ideas, a story, or what you 
will. In the measure that he does this well, something of his 
own personality will shine through his writing. As Eric Gill 
used to say: “Look after truth and goodness, and beauty will 
look after herself.” 

editor’s note: Mr. Attwater’s books indude The Catholic Church in Modem 
Wales, 1935, Bums, Oates; Catholic Eastern Churches, 1935, Bruce; Dictionary 
of the Saints, 1938, Kenedy; Dictionary of the Popes, 1939, Burns, Oates; 
Dissident Eastern Churches, 1937, Bruce: Golden Book of Eastern Saints, 
1938, Bruce; St. John Chrysostom, 1939, Bruce; The White Fathers in 
Africa, 1937, Burns, Oates. 

THIS INVITATION to Write ail autobiographical sketch, with the 
emphasis on how I became a writer, intrigued me more than the 
larger request for information about the books I have written 
and my experiences as an author. To find the answers to the 
questions proposed made it necessary for me to transport myself 
back to my boyhood years; indeed, I was surprised at how far 
back I had to go for the starting point. 

By the time I was ten years old I had developed a great interest 
in (shall I say “literature”?) — ^anything that was printed: news- 
papers, magazines (mostly religious), and books. I was an in- 
satiable reader. Naturally, I liked stories best, but other printed 
things interested me, too. In my father's “library” — a collection 
of about a hundred miscellaneous books — there was an old, one- 
volume Cyclopedia, the general content of which I perused with 
casual interest; most of it was too deep for me and, besides, many 
articles dealt with subjects in which I wasn’t much interested. 
But there was one section that completely captivated me: the 
section dealing with American literature, giving short sketches 



of the lives and ivorks, and pictures, of some of the prominent 
American authors. I particularly remember Washington Irving, 
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and James Fennimore 
Cooper. I read and re-read those sketches. It awakened in me a 
new interest — ^an interest in authors, in the writers of literature. 
It must be wonderful to be a great and learned man! To be able 
to write books — ^literature that people will read with interest, 
profit and pleasure! I resolved that I would be an author. 

I was in my thirteenth year when I made my first Holy Com- 
munion. In those days you had to be at least twelve years old 
before you were permitted to become a First Communicant. It 
was a great event in the life of a Catholic boy or girl. After the 
church services there was always a home celebration to which re- 
lations, friends and neighbors were invited. Now, there were 
two young ladies, choir singers in a city parish church, who oc- 
casionally called on my mother. I wanted them at my First 
Communion celebration. I think, being nearly thirteen and ro- 
mantically inclined, that I was in love with both of them. Well, 
my mother liked them, too; and she was well pleased that I told 
her that I was going to invite Miss Emma and Miss Ida for my 
First Communion celebration. 

There was no convenient telephone in those days, and they 
lived too far away for me to call on them; so I decided that I 
would send them an invitation by mail. I had seen formal in- 
vitations to weddings. I didn't like them. They were too cold 
and stiff; they all sounded alike, as if one had copied from the 
other. Everyone said the same thing in the same way. Had they 
no originality, no imagination? My invitation would be differ- 
ent from any other invitation: it would be strictly original and 
have a character of its own. I would put some warmth into it, 
some thought and feeling. Yes, sir! 

I put in several hours composing that invitation: I wrote and 
rewrote. I told them how much I thought of them; that I wanted 
them to come not only to my house party, but also to the church 
celebration; that it would be the greatest day in my life and the 
greatest event; that their presence would mean, oh, so much to 
me, and to my mother, and to everyone, etc., etc. I chose the 



biggest and most extravagant words 1 could dig out of my vocab- 
ulary — ^words remembered from my reading, and shaped them 
into flowery sentences. I can truly say that, when finished, it was 
an elaborate piece of work; and 1 was quite proud of it. For- 
tunately, Miss Emma and Miss Ida lived at the same address, and 
in the same house. So it was necessary to write only one invita- 

That was my first attempt at literary composition; and it was 
effective; for they came to the church and to my party. And, 
with a merry twinkle in their eyes, they thanked me for my 
“grand and beautiful invitation,” telling me how much they en- 
joyed it. It was not until some years later that I learned that 
others had enjoyed it, too; they had passed it around among 
their friends. All said, it was a scream. Well, anyhow — ^that 
was the beginning of my writing career. 

I lived in a German community. In the parish church ser- 
mons, and confessions, and prayers were in German; in the 
parochial school — catechism, bible history and daily reading — ^all 
in German. English was considered of secondary importance. 
An hour a day devoted to spelling, or grammar, or reading, or 
writing, was about the extent of the English course. On account 
of this neglect, I began college in the fall of that year with a de- 
cided handicap. All the boys in my class were much farther ad- 
vanced in English than I was. True, I had one advantage over 
them in the extent of my reading, but I soon discovered that 
didn’t count for much in classwork. 

After a week or so, we were told to write a literary composition. 
I didn’t know what a composition was, but I asked the boy sitting 
nearest to me, and he explained with a broad grin on his face. 
Also, he made it his business to tell all of the fifty-five boys in the 
class how dumb I was, that I didn’t even know what a composi- 
tion was. Some — but not all— -of them laughed. But I didn’t 
care. I would show them. I went home, and that night I wrote 
my first composition in English. I worked hard on it. 

The next day I proudly handed in what I had written. The 
following day the teacher — as became his custom — ^without re- 
vealing the names of the writers, read two or three of the best 



compositions, and two or three of the poorest. Mine was read. 
It wasn’t one of the best, nor yet the worst. The teacher, after 
he had read it aloud, said, with mirth in his eyes, that it was 
unique. “There is originality here,” he said, “but the style is 
involved and wordy, and a trifle outlandish.” He did not invite 
surmise as to who wrote it; but the boys guessed and shouted my 
name in unison; and there was much laughter. 1 was hurt; stung 
to the quick. And in that hour — smarting under the ridicule, I 
took an oath — a boyish oath, that I would someday beat them all 
in English. At least 1 would work hard to learn to write good 
English prose. For one thing, I increased the volume of my read- 
ing. 1 read and studied the works of the classic and standard 
English writers — poets and essayists. I read with avidity and 
increasing interest the books of contemporary authors as they 
came from the press, spending much time in the public and col- 
lege libraries. 

We can pass over the seven years at St. Xavier College, Cincin- 
nati, with the comment that, while I made fair progress, I ac- 
complished nothing out of the ordinary in the writing line. 1 
held my own; that was all. My essays compared favorably with 
those written by other boys in the class. But there was nothing 
remarkable about them. The best that I can say for myself is 
that, by dint of hard work and much studious reading, I learned, 
or shall I say taught, myself to write and express myself with fair 
fluency and clarity. 

After I graduated I became a space writer for one of the city’s 
morning papers, at $5.00 a column; and later, a cub reporter. 
But 1 couldn’t make much money out of that; so I gave it up and 
got a regular job. But the urge to write was strong. So I began 
to write book reviews for the Catholic Telegraph (Cincinnati), 
three or four columns a week which the then editor. Dr. Thomas 
P. Hart, was glad to get. It helpied to All space in his paper; and, 
besides, it didn’t cost him anything. But I was glad to write 
them; it was good practice and I enjoyed doing them. And those 
interested in books and literature — a very small percentage, I 
discovered — seemed to like them. I remember one review in par- 
ticular— of Canon Sheehan’s My New Curate — which brought 



me a two-page letter of praise and appreciation from the pub- 
lishers, Marlier & Callahan, of Boston. 1 felt compensated. 

The years moved on and nothing was accomplished. 1 had 
made no progress; was at a standstill. But something was hap- 
pening — something revolutionary in current literature. Up to 
that time there were only a few magazines: The North American 
Review, Harper^s, The Century, Scribner^ s, and a few others; all 
of them high priced (25 to 50 cents a copy), and quite literary — 
over the heads of most people. None of them had a large cir- 
culation. In the *90*s Frank A. Munsey began to publish a 10 
cent magazine. It was an instantaneous and popular success. 
This stimulated other publishers, and a number of magazines of 
similar type and character came into existence shortly afterwards; 
and were favorably received by the general public. Up to that 
time the established women's magazines, such as The Ladies" 
Home Journal and The Woman"s Home Companion, had no 
rivals in the popular-priced held; now there are a score or more 
of cheap publications. The result was that millions of people 
who had never before bought a magazine now began to buy and 
read these popular-priced periodicals. A new era had begun. 

I watched the phenomenal growth and development in the 
secular magazine held with deep interest. It set me thinking. 
Why not a popular-priced monthly magazine for Catholics? 
There were only a few Catholic magazines at that time: The 
Catholic World, for the educated, and Donahoe"s Magazine, of 
interest chiehy to the Irish, and two or three devotional publica- 
tions. But there was nothing that appealed to the rank and hie 
of Catholics, nothing that would interest the average Catholic 
man and woman, and our youth. There ought to be such a 
publication, I said to myself; and I wondered why no one had 
ever thought of publishing one; not an excessively religious 
periodical, but of general interest. Even non-Catholics, I per- 
suaded myself, would be willing to read that kind of a magazine, 
if brought to their attention. The more I pondered the subject, 
the more convinced I became that the time was ripe for the 
launching of a popular Catholic magazine. Why not start one? 
I thought about it for several years. 



Finally, in the summer of 1902, 1 took the bull by the horns. I 
organized a stock company to publish a Catholic home journal. 
The first number came out the latter part of October; 1 dated it 
December, 1902, so as to give me plenty of time to work with it. 
I called it Men and Women. Of course, I was the editor. 

In this little sketch I am confining myself to the points that 
have to do with my writing career, for that is what you are in- 
terested in; not my publishing experiences. And when I say that 
I was the editor — getting up the entire magazine — I want to stress 
particularly that I also wrote the editorials. To make a long 
story short: after three and a half years, the magazine Men and 
Women came to grief, in spite of the fact that it was a popular 
success, having attained a circulation of 150,000, which was re- 
markable for the times. Its demise could have been prevented; 
but that is another story. I can only say, quoting Robert Louis 
Stevenson: “I put my heart into the building and it still lies 
among the ruins.” 

During the three and a half years of my editorship of a national 
Catholic magazine I got to know, and came into contact with, 
many interesting and worth-while people all over the country. 
One of these was a young priest in Lapeer, Michigan, the Rev- 
erend Francis C. Kelley. He called on me one day and told me 
of his plan and intention to start a much needed Home Mission 
Society. I became deeply interested, and gave him what little 
encouragement 1 could. He was a man of action, and in 1905 he 
founded The Catholic Church Extension Society. It gives me 
special pleasure to say that I attended the first organization meet- 
ing which was held in Chicago, October 18, 1905, thus becoming 
one of its founders. I recall that I wrote an editorial highly 
commending “this zealous young priest” from Lapeer for having 
laid the ax to the tree, for stirring up interest in the much neg- 
lected corners of the Lord's vineyards — the home missions. To 
further the cause of Church Extension, Father Kelley published 
a little quarterly magazine; but after a year or so he changed it 
into a monthly magazine. Extension; and invited me, being free 
at the time (May, 1907), to become its managing editor. I ac- 



Father Kelley, as editor-in-chief, wrote the editorials; and this 
he did excellently, for he had a great gift for writing. Ck>llecting, 
selecting, and editing the material for the various issues kept me 
busy; but even so, 1 was itching to write again. And after a year 
1 started a monthly page which 1 called “Ten Minutes with the 
Managing Editor,” a chatty, columnist style of writing; and con- 
tinued it for many years. In 1915, Pope Benedict XV, in recog- 
nition of the great work Father Kelley was doing, made him a 
Protonotary Apostolic, which conferred on him the title Right 
Reverend Monsignor. In 1924, Msgr. Kelley was appointed 
Bishop of Oklahoma; he was consecrated in October, 1924. After 
his departure for his new field of labor, the editorials in Exten- 
sion Magazine for the next few years were written by various 
associates, including myself, and special writers. It was an ex- 
periment. But in the fall of 1928, the writing of the editorials 
was assigned to me, and I have been writing them ever since. 
Writing editorials has never been a drudgery to me, but always a 
labor of love. 

Now to summarize my literary career: editorial writing has 
been my chief literary performance. In addition to that I have 
written scores of articles, and half a dozen pamphlets and mono- 
graphs, — all of which have been published. In point of quantity 
I have written many hundreds of thousands of words. If every- 
thing I have produced were collected and published in book 
form, it would make at least 25 volumes. The question arises: 
can one producing the sort of things I have written be called an 
author? Is he a producer of literature? What's the answer? 

But this 1 will say: that which I have written has been read 
for the reason that I have always dealt with timely topics — ques- 
tions of the day. Take the editorials, for example. My estimate 
is that at least a third of the readers of a magazine — ^women as 
well as men — ^read editorials, and faithfully follow an editor’s 
current writings. The thousands of letters I have received 
through the years persuade me to make this claim. For example, 
here is an extract from a letter (dated May 12, 1942) from a Judge 
of the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a western state: “May I 
now express to you my very great pleasure at having received 



your letter and for the opportunity it affords me to say again 
that, for the many years 1 have been a subscriber for Extension 
Magazine, the feature that 1 enjoyed most was your editorials, 
which were always forceful and timely, and many of which 1 
have filed away for references." 

For a magazine of the circulation of Extension, 1 do not think 
it boastful to say that a hundred thousand men and women read 
the editorials — ^more or less — ^regularly, month after month. Cut 
it in half, if you think the claim is too high. The point 1 want to 
make is that, generally speaking, an editorial writer has more 
readers than an author of books. I ought to know, for I am also 
the author of a book. The New Capitalism, published in 1923. 
I doubt whether five thousand people have read it; although 1 
put two years into the writing of it; and consider it my very best 
work. Well, life is like that! 

At any rate, out of the class of fifty-five boys who began college 
with me, I am the only one who subsequently made his living 
out of the English language. Not much of an achievement, but 
at least a distinction! 



FATHER BARABt is Principal of the School of Sacred Eloquence at 
Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Canada, member of the Oblate Missionary 
Band, and speaker on the Catholic Hour from station Radio- 
Canada, Ottawa. 

Born in 1904 at Parisville, county of Lotbiniere, Quebec, 
Father Barab^ pursued his studies at Levis College. After taking 
his degree of licentiate in philosophy at Laval University in Que- 
bec, he entered Ottawa University where he earned the degrees 
of licentiate in Divinity and bachelor in Canon Law. 

For ten years he taught sacred eloquence to his younger 
brothers in religion at St. Joseph’s Scholasticate as well as to the 
students at Ottawa University. In 1940, his superiors appointed 
him Principal of the School of Sacred Eloquence of the Oblate 
Order at Cap-de-la-Madeleine where is to be also found the Na- 
tional Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape, Queen of the Holy 
Rosary, where flock annually some 300,000 pilgrims from all 
parts of Canada and the United States. 

Under Father Barabe’s direction young Oblates learn the art 



of preaching missions and retreats under the jurisdiction of the 
Provincial of the French Oblate Province. He supervises their 
work, helps them in the composition of their sermons and very 
often accompanies them in their initial try-outs as missionaries. 
As a member of the Missionary Band, Father Barab^ himself 
preaches various missions and retreats. 

As a student his literary tastes were discovered by his professors 
among whom were such scholars as Cardinal Villeneuve, O.M.I., 
Primate of the Canadian Hierarchy, Father Raoul Leblanc, 
O.M.I., editor of the Revue de VUniversite d* Ottawa, Dr. S^ra- 
phin Marion, professor at Ottawa University and a distinguished 
author, and Father Georges Simard, O.M.I., well known educa- 
tionalist and writer. It was Father Simard who taught his pupil 
to drink deep at the well of learning of that great theologian of 
the early Church, St. Augustine. 

The Annals of Our Lady of the Cape, the Revue de VUniversite 
d*Ottawa, Le Bulletin de VUnton Mtsstonaire du ClergS, and 
other periodicals have published articles by Father Barab^. 

In 1940, he began a series of lectures on the Catholic Hour of 
Radio-Canada on the history of the Church in Canada. Later 
these talks were published in two volumes entitled Quelques 
Figures de Notre Histoire, and, Autour de Mgr. B our get. 

The initial chapter of his first book deals with “Marie de Tln- 
camation, ^ducatrice.” This study was suggested by the cele- 
brations of the tercentenary of the arrival of the Ursulines in 
America in 1639. Around this well known historical personage 
are grouped such religious pioneers of Canada as Bishop Laval, 
spiritual Father of Canada; Marguerite Bourgeoys, missionary; 
Marie Catherine de St. Augustine, apostle and mystic; Madame 
D'Youville, mother; Bishop Tache, O.M.I., hero of the Canadian 
West; Bishop Grandin, O.M.I., Saint of the Prairies; and Bishop 
Langevin, O.M.I., missionary bom in Canada in 1841. 

Of this volume. Father Leo Deschatelets, O.M.I., Superior of 
St. Joseph's Scholasticate in Ottawa wrote: “The author con- 
siders the noble deeds of these historical Canadian figures in 
their historical environments. Hence, he penetrates their per- 
sonal ideas, their characters and their physiognomy. Unlike the 



French author Bremond he does not analyze their lives. He 
hasn’t time. But like the pen of Louis Veuillot, he designs the 
principal featiures of his heroes, he draws from their lives all that 
might interest his readers.” 

Father Barab^’s second book was suggested by the recent ter- 
centenary celebration of the foundation of Ville Marie, today 
known as Montreal. In it he recounts the life, the deeds and the 
glories of Mgr. Ignace Bourget, second bishop of Montreal. It 
was this prelate who answered the needs of his vast young diocese 
by founding religious Orders which have now flourishingly 
reached the century mark of their existence: Sisters of Provi- 
dence, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of 
Mercy, Sisters of Ste. Anne. 

Father Barab^’s third and most recent book, also written in 
French, is entitled Les Secrets de la Messe (The Secrets of the 

Next year Father Barab^ will again take his place on the 
Catholic Hour over the Radio-Canada’s network. And once 
again his pen will portray for us other notable characters from 
Canadian Catholic history. 



the Ursuline Academy in Cleveland read from a list of names, 
“Your compositions are really very good. You deserve great 
credit for writing them, Catherinel” 

Catherine Herman, the only non-Catholic in the class, blushed 
and hung her head. The other girls giggled sheepishly. Who 
ever fooled Sister Beatricel Catherine wrote as naturally as a 
bird flies and when there was a composition assignment she wrote 
not only one but several. The other girls who found writing 
tedious would sometimes turn these compositions in as their own. 
It was inevitable that Catherine would go on to major in English 
Literature and become an author. 

Previous* to this, Robb Beebe's high school principal in Ash- 
tabula, Ohio, had been often disturbed by teachers' complaints 
that young Beebe was drawing pictures instead of doing his more 
academic work. His grades were satisfactory, but he found too 
much time in which to lampoon the students and teachers with 



his pencil. The students may have missed him, but his teachers 
were glad when he concluded his senior year and went to Cleve- 
land, to Western Reserve University and the Art School. 

At the time they met, Catherine Herman was writing successful 
plays, articles, short stories and advertising copy, always with 
children as her subject. Robb Beebe was equally busy with ad- 
vertising illustration, specializing in youth subjects. Together 
they worked out novel costumes and stage effects for the annual 
dance plays she was writing and producing. Their compatibility 
soon caused a transition from friendship to love, and as they 
worked they planned their life ahead. “Someday we'll do chil- 
dren’s books together,*’ they told each other. The first World 
War postponed their dreams for a time while Robb served in the 
United States Marines. They were married in Cleveland the 
June following the Armistice. 

They moved to New York, where Robb did magazine illustra- 
tion, and took a studio apartment in Grammercy Park. They 
had long been attracted by the authority and beauty of the Cath- 
olic Church. She was a Unitarian and he an Episcopalian. This 
attraction to the Church, coupled with the good example of their 
many Catholic friends, began to bear fruit. They took instruc- 
tion from the late Father Alfred Pauz6 of the Fathers of the 
Blessed Sacrament, Church of St. Jean Baptiste, and were re- 
ceived and their marriage blessed. 

With the coming of their babies they moved to Westchester. 
“Someday we’ll do children’s books together,’’ they had promised 
each other. Their laboratory was certainly growing. Mary, 
Joebie, and Bobbie, together with their numerous playmates and 
friends were excellent writing and picture material. Copious 
notes and sketches were made but the Great Venture had to be 
put aside temporarily. Parenthood, particularly motherhood, 
came first. Robb had a studio in New York and continued with 
his magazine illustration. Evenings and week ends found the 
Beebes working and playing with the children. The joy of see- 
ing them grow sturdily in spirit, mind and body! 

Sometime later, the Beebes built a house in Ridgewood, New 
Jersey. Their studio overlooks the garden. There in that gar- 



den the Someday for a book together at last arrived. They wrote 
and illustrated the book and the young Beebes gave of their opin- 
ion and criticism. **Will any publisher like it well enough to buy 
it?” the Beebes asked each other. After all these years the First 
Book — ^and the frightening thought that it would not prove ac- 

To their surprise and delight the first publisher to whom it 
was shown accepted and published it. There are now thirteen 
Beebe Books — Story by Catherine Beebe, Pictures by Robb 
Beebe. Seven of these are especially done for Catholic children. 
The well of Holy Mother Church is deep and the waters sweet. 
There are many stories to tell and many pictures to draw of 
God*s goodness to His children. 

The young Beebes and their parents are vitally interested in 
the C.Y.O. and the spread of good reading as exemplified by the 
Crusade for Decent Literature, as well as in parish and civic ac- 
tivities. Robb and Catherine Beebe continue to write and draw 
for and about children. Not only do they produce their books 
together but Catherine writes and Robb illustrates for school 
readers published by well known text book houses. 

THE BEEBE BOOKS: Published by Thomas Nelson & Sons — Do You Like to 
Open Packages?, and Happily Ever After; published by Oxford University 
Press — A Wish for Timothy, Just Around the Corner, The Calender, and 
Boh*s Bike; published by Longmans — Little Patron of Gardeners and ABCs 
for Catholic Boys & Girls; published by St. Anthony Guild Press — We Know 
the Mass, The Children's Saint Anthony, The Chtldren*s Saint Francis, The 
Christmas Story, and Our Baby*s Memory Book. 


THE THING THAT Started iiie off as a Catholic writer was a highly 
personal business experience. My father was the chairman of a 
company which got into difficulties during the slump. We owed 
the bank a lot of money and had given them a debenture. The 
company was made bankrupt and a business rival got all its as- 
sets by simply paying out the bank. No other creditor got a 

The injustice of that rankled. 1 felt instinctively that here was 
a case where the law had been used to defeat common fairness 
and common justice. I made up my mind to find out what the 
Church had got to say about it. I got my teeth into the whole 
Catholic doctrine of usury and I think 1 found that the Church 
was on my side. This was the origin of my book. The Iniquitous 
Contract, in which 1 sought to prove that the debenture was a 
usurious instrument. 

The Iniquitous Contract caused quite a stir for a book of that 
kind, — ^at any rate among the Catholic public. It was both 
highly praised and violently attacked, and at least I had the satis- 



faction of knowing that I had forced that question into the fore- 
front of Catholic discussion. 

Had I written the book today I should have said many things 
which I left unsaid at the time and left unsaid much that 1 said. 
Nevertheless I believe that the direction in which I was moving 
then is the same as that in which I have moved ever since, for I 
was attacking the dead hand of mere money power over human 
values and human creativeness. 

Since that time the world has gone a long way along the road 
that I was trying to travel — I speak now not only of the question 
of usury but of the whole motivation of business. Indeed I 
should not liken myself in those days to a voice crying in the 
wilderness so much as to a rather objectionable small boy at the 
zoo whose elders are not moving rapidly enough towards the 
particular exhibit he wants to contemplate, but are nevertheless 
definitely going that way. I now, however, sometimes wonder 
whether they have not actually been going too rapidly, for I am 
beginning to realise with growing maturity that the great world 
of affairs is not that simple pattern of black and white (pardon 
the change of metaphor) as I saw it in the thirties. 

Since I started to write and chose the particular field that I did 
choose, namely that of financial and business practice, 1 have re- 
vised many views that 1 once held. I have come increasingly into 
contact with the world of Big Business and seen at close range, 
amongst other things, the operation of that highly complex thing, 
the profit motive, which was another of those matters about 
which I suffered in my early period from critical inadequacy. 
The skill and sagacity of the great business leader is exercising 
upon me, I freely confess, a growing fascination; and year by year 
I grow more sensible to the enormous social gain that we derive 
from the man who backs his own judgment and takes his own 
risks and must ultimately justify his action before the inexorable 
tribunal of the ultimate consumer as compared with the official 
who need only justify himself in a minute to his departmental 

The present demand for economic security, which carries with 
it an implicit criticism of our whole existing economic practice 



and its underlying motives, is, of course, an eminently justifiable 
one and it is the legitimate function of the State to satisfy it, — as 
it is technically quite possible for it to do. But I want to preserve 
at all costs within that framework the factors of private risk and 
private enterprise to the greatest practicable extent. The rneas* 
ure of their loss will to my mind be the measure of our future 
physical impoverishment. 

All this has led me to enjoin one lesson upon my fellow Cath- 
olics, and I have done this with the persistent monotony of a 
braying ass. It is that they should not decry the business world 
as something intrinsically evil and that they will never become 
worthy exponents of Catholic social principles until they have 
intimate first hand knowledge of the detailed workings of that 
world. I have urged them, and I am still urging them, to study 
every issue of the specialist publications on finance and eco- 
nomics, which in this country are of a very high order, and 1 
suppose that it is the strong current of my personal interest in 
these matters that has led me more and more to drift into this 
type of journalism. 1 find it altogether delightful. Indeed, the 
intellectual atmosphere in the editorial offices of such papers as 
The Financial News and The Economist seems to me keener 
than in those of any other publication that I know. 

That is only to be expected, for the economist is truly at the 
centre of all the science. His final concern must be with the 
concept of value, ethics, politics, biology, yes, and even theology, 
he must touch them all. His business is, after all, to determine 
why man chooses one thing rather than another. 

These discursive remarks are the best method I can find of 
painting the kind of self-portrait that the editor of this book 
seems to want. As to grosser material details, I am married, un- 
tidy, physically very lazy and passionately fond of gangster films. 
I take no exercise of any kind, smoke all day long, never walk if 
I can ride, am very fond of dogs, and hate gardening like poison. 
I can claim only one virtue to justify my misspent life — it is 
that I have never been bored. 

Despite these embarrassments I learnt last year to be a centre 
lathe turner and spent the greater part of the year working in an 



aircraft factory. I once earned six dollars bonus in one week and 
I am enormously proud of that. 

1 have only one word of advice to give to the Catholic literary 
aspirant. Read all the papers you can. Ring up the most in- 
teresting personality you find referred to in them, murmur some- 
thing vague about doing some article in some paper or other and 
get an interview with him. You will be surprised how easy it is. 
You may, or may not, be able to sell the story, but that interview 
will put you on the track of half a dozen others. But 1 must 
make this a reservation. You will never be a writer if you are just 
interested in writing. You must be interested in life. Whe^er 
you can cultivate that interest if you haven’t got it, I don’t know. 
If you honestly feel you haven’t got it, take up some good moral 
profession like boot-repairing or selling insurance. But if you 
have got it you will find your own way and don’t need any advice 
from me. 

editor's note. Mr. Benvenisti, a resident of London, England, is a prolific 
contributor to Cathcdic and other periodicals in Great Britain and America. 
His published books are The Iniquitous Contract, 1937, Burns, Oates; The 
Absent-Minded Revolution, 1937, Sands; What Is Profit?, 1942. 




KATHERINE MARIE CORNELIA Bi^GY was boHi in Philadelphia, the 
daughter of a distinguished judge of that city, who was a descend- 
ant of the old French family of the Counts of Br^gi. Her 
paternal grandfather, the first to settle in this country, had been 
professor at Girard College and the University of Pennsylvania, 
but unhappily lost the ancestral Faith in his new surroundings. 
So young Katherine was brought up in the Episcopalian religion 
of her parents and had to find her own way back to Catholicism 
as a convert— or as she prefers to say, a revert. Even in child- 
hood, when enrolled at a fashionable secular seminary in her 
native city (she delighted in school-going from first to last!) she 
was fascinated by Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and Mark 
Twain's life of Joati of Arc. Later on she fell under the sway of 
St. Francis of Assisi and the great Cardinal Newman, and while 
herself a student at the University of Pennsylvania she was 
quietly received into the Church. About the same time she be- 
gan her literary career by publishing in the Catholic World an 

37 BR^GY 

article on the Jesuit poet, Robert Southwell which she had writ- 
ten as a college assignment. 

An autobiographical sketch published in the February, March, 
and April, 1939 issues of the same magazine paints an attractive 
picture of the old Philadelphia home and shows that the young 
writer realized very early that her life-work was to be an appre- 
aation of the immemorial gift of Catholic culture, particularly 
poetry, as the beauty of holiness. She began doing critical and 
personal studies of great Catholic poets — Francis Thompson, 
Coventry Patmore, Gerard Hopkins — ^long before she had any 
thought of writing verse herself. In this work she was inspired 
by the advice of a brilliant and sympathetic priest-friend, the late 
Monsignor Kirlin, and encouraged by correspondence with 
Louise Imogen Guiney, the American poet then living at Oxford. 

Katherine Br^gy was brought up to love literature, the theatre 
and pets — to all of which she soon added a love of travel. An 
early tour of Europe took her from Italy to England, bringing an 
unforgettable meeting in London with the exquisite Alice Mey- 
nell, who was always to remain for her the ideal symbol of the 
“Lady Poetry.” Friendship with the famous and fastidious Mey- 
nell family became, indeed, a potent influence upon her life and 
literary tastes; and a few years later it was Wilfrid Meynell who 
arranged for the publication of her first volume of essays. The 
Poets" Chantry, in London. 

About 1916 Katherine Br^gy became one of the circle made 
vivid by her friend Joyce Kilmer, a circle eager to spread the 
Catholic Literary Revival through the United States. Illness 
in her family brought the distraction of many home duties; but 
as she had early learned that woman must be the “General Prac- 
titioner of the Universe” — even when she wants to be a specialist 
— she continued at intervals to write both prose and verse for 
our magazines, and even began the literary conferences or lec- 
ture-recitals which have since become popular throughout the 
country. A second book of essays. Poets and Pilgrims, was pub- 
lished in 1925, containing appreciations of poets all the way from 
Chaucer to Paul Claudel. This latter French mystic and ^ama- 



tist she did much to introduce to American readers. Another 
Gallic friend of those years, to whose gifts of head and heart 
Katherine confesses a great debt, was the Abb6 Ernest Dimnet. 

She had always written for the few rather than for the many, 
but in 1927 a popular triumph came to her in the winning of 
the thousand dollar prize offered by The Commonweal for the 
best short essay on Dante. The competition was international 
in scope, and Miss Br^gy still believes it is because she was not 
a Dante scholar but simply a Dante lover with a fresh approach 
that she was able to achieve the human appreciation needed by 
general readers. She had long been interested in the lore of the 
Middle Ages — “when romance met religion” — and this prize es- 
say was subsequently included in her volume of medieval studies 
grouped under the title From Dante to Jean d*Arc (1933). 

Meanwhile, in 1930, a small violet volume of verse (the color 
is one for which Katherine acknowledges a “complex” and which 
she always wears!) entitled Bridges had been published. Its 
poems about Nature and Love and God and the family pets 
among which she had grown up were praised by the critics for 
“tenderness, irony and a frequently Patmorean sense of mysti- 
cism,” and the book had the distinction of going promptly out 
of print. Most of its contents, along with newer additions, has 
since been republished in Ladders and Bridges, 

Katherine Br^gy has long been an active member of the Poetry 
Societies of America and of England, and was the first feminine 
president of the American Catholic Poetry Society, of which she 
remains vice-president. She has received the honorary degree of 
Doctor of Literature from Holy Cross College (for men) and 
D'Youville College (for women), and has been twice decorated 
by the French Government. People are sometimes surprised to 
find her rather a small person, blue-eyed and “persistently 
blonde”; devoted to her friends and books, to the theatre and 
music — and so fond of animals that she declares stray dogs and 
cats wait on street-corners for her ministrations. When asked 
why she has never married she explains that she has always had 
the bad luck to fall in love with utterly ineligible people! She 



believes we might have a very grand world indeed if men could 
manage to outgrow war: as they have not, she is sure we need 
to keep close to poetry and the other arts, especially those in- 
spired by Catholic ideals, if we are to hold on to the sweetness 
and sanity of true civilization. The need and opportunity of 
Catholic writers she finds great in all fields — but the need to 
know and support these writers perhaps even greaterl 

editor's note: Miss Br^gy’s books include From Dante to Jean d*Arc, 1933, 
Bruce; Ladders and Bridges, 1936, McKay; Poets and Pilgrims, 1925, Benziger; 
PoeVs Chantry, 1912, Herder. 


THERE HAVE BEEN poets and novelists not a few who have written 
their best work in their twenties. Keats died at 26 and Shelley 
at 30. On the other hand, one has known writers who made 
their debut in their fifties and even later. Jesuit writers are 
usually late starters in literature: most of them begin about 34 
or 35. The present writer was hardly an exception. I felt quite 
early the urge to write. But I suppose I was too busy taking in 
to have much energy to spare for giving out, at least in the form 
of literature. A little verse which never appeared in print, a 
story which was mislaid by an editor, and a translation which 
did not appear till twenty-five years later, was all there was to 
show for my first quarter century. 

When a definite resolve to publish something came to a head, 
its motive was not so much literary as patriotic. 1 wanted to do 
something useful for Ireland and, as I was debarred from the 
political field, I thought that my best way of helping would be 
to place on record — a thing that had never been done — the 
literature dealing with Ireland, so that the memory of hundreds 



of fine books, many of them out of print, should not die out. I 
had no idea at the time of the dimensions of the task I was 
setting myself. Where was I to begin? I asked myself what it 
was the people read most. Fiction, surely. Well then, why not 
describe with accurate particulars all the works in fictional form 
(novels, tales, folklore, romances, sagas) which threw any light 
on Ireland, on Irish history, Irish manners and customs, the Irish 
character, Irish places, etc., etc. I thought there was question of 
a pamphlet; but A Reader's Guide to Irish Fiction (1910) was 
a book of some 220 pages. That, in its turn, became a much 
larger book which I called Ireland in Fiction (1916). But in 
1916 all the sheets and nearly all the copies were burned. That, 
I thought, was the end of it. But no, I somehow managed a 
new and enlarged edition in 1919. Since then I have come across 
a good many old novels which I had overlooked and many new 
ones have appeared: enough to form the material of a further 
volume. This was actually compiled, but has not been pub- 

But hction was only one section, and a relatively small one, of 
books dealing with Ireland. What of the rest? Well, all this 
time I had been gathering materials, and in 1913, what was 
meant to be the hrst part of a Guide to Books on Ireland in 
three volumes appeared. It dealt with Prose Literature, Poetry, 
Music, and Plays. In both this work and in Ireland in Fiction 
I had, by the way, a number of most helpful and generous col- 
laborators. After the appearance of Part I, I had to suspend the 
work for some years owing to my studies for the priesthood. 
Being then transferred to another community, I left behind me, 
stored in some trunks, the material for Parts II and III. I never 
saw it again and could only conjecture what happened to it. 
That was my first full stop. It was destined not to be the last. 

However, owing to the nature of my work, I was striking out 
on a new line. I may call it literary theory. For I had been 
teaching English literature (among other subjects) in our College 
of Clongowes Wood where I had myself been educated. To- 
wards the end of a nine years period of teaching, I planned out 
a work on a rather ambitious scale. It was to deal with three 



main topics: poetry, imagery, and style. 1 set to work on the 
first and succeeded in completing it, but before The Realm of 
Poetry (1921) appeared my Ck)llege teaching days came to an 
end, and I found myself at Ore Place, Hastings, in a French 
community, engaged on special studies in Scripture. The Realm 
of Poetry was well received, even in the English secular press, 
and is still selling in a small way. How did an utterly unknown 
writer, an Irishman, and still worse a Jesuit, manage to have it 
published by a leading non*Catholic firm, Messrs. Harrap in 
London? 1 hardly know, but so it was. 

What of the second item in that grandiose programme of 
mine: Imagery? A new impulse was given to this by my scrip- 
tural studies. 1 saw that much useful light might be thrown 
on the Bible by a study of figurative language — ^metaphor, 
simile, etc., etc. — ^leading on to the parables and allegories of the 
Gospels. So I went on with the plan. But The World of 
Imagery was not finished until 1927. I succeeded in persuading 
the firm of Kegan Paul & Routledge to publish it. But, though 
a large volume of 358 pages, it dealt with only a limited corner 
of the subject, viz.. Metaphor and Kindred Imagery. Should I 
go on with the work? I wondered. For meantime I had passed 
on to new studies and had struck out on new lines. But I had 
gathered considerable materials and it seemed a pity not to use 
them. The next would be a general work on Imagery in Litera- 
ture, a series of explorations in the figurative language of several 
literatures and many authors. It was completed, but circum- 
stances did not admit of its publication. Here was a second full 
stop. I had planned volumes on Fable, on Parable and Allegory, 
on Emblem Literature and Symbolism, but that path seemed 
closed, and in the meantime others had opened up. 

My scripture studies had, from a literary point of view, re- 
sulted only in a little book on the Psalms, The Divine Song 
Book (1926), and a section of Imagery in Literature. This latter 
I have made many efforts to publish in separate form but 
hitherto without success. One firm which was on the point of 
printing it, went bankrupti In the meantime, I had not lost 
my interest in bibliography, but it now centered in Catholic 



bibliography. This change was largely due, 1 think, to the 
foundation in 1922 of the Central Catholic Library in Dublin. 
Time after time I was coming across excellent Catholic books 
whose existence I had not suspected: there must be other people 
in the same case. Many quite deserving books were forgotten 
and had been allowed to go out of print. Bibliography would 
do^something to rescue these from obscurity not to say oblivion. 
Their titles, etc., could be placed on record once for all, their 
contents be described, and so forth. The first outcome of these 
considerations was a little book. The Preacher*s Library (1928), 
in which pulpit literature was recorded and described for the 
benefit of priests. Then 1 returned to the notion which had 
launched me into Ireland in Fiction — ^what do people mostly 
read? Novels. Well, let us draw up a Catalogue of Novels and 
Tales by Catholic Writers, It has passed through seven editions, 
one of which was revised by Walter Romig, edited by Father 
F. X. Talbot, S.J., and published in the United States by America 
Press. After that came biographies. I had been drawing up 
lists of books which we desired to have for the Central Catholic 
Library, Dublin, of which I am honorary librarian. I was as- 
tonished at the number of lives of Catholic interest there seemed 
to be. Why not draw up a list and publish it? I did so, and the 
first attempt contained nearly 10,000 titles of biographies. A 
later edition. An International Index of Catholic Biographies 
(1935) almost doubled this. These proved to be the first two 
volumes of a series which I called the Catholic Bibliographical 
Series. It eventually included three further volumes, viz.. An 
Introduction to Catholic Booklore, Catholic Juvenile Literature, 
and Catholic Mission Literature. It would include Catholic 
Art Literature, Sacred Music, and History were there any hope 
of finding a publisher for these works. 

My interest in books and libraries has been maintained by 
the fact that for a good part of my life I have been a librarian 
and, since the foundation in 1929 of a School of Library Train- 
ing in the National University of Ireland, have been lecturer 
there in bibliography. The outcome of this interest was the 
publication in 1937 of Libraries and Literature from a Catholic 


Standpoint. This interest also found scope in my membership 
of the books committee of the Dublin County Council, of the 
Executive Board of the Library Association of Ireland, and of 
the Hospitals Library Council. 

I am sure that by this time you take me for a dry as dust book- 
worm always buried in “dusty volumes of forgotten lore.” Well, 
1 don’t think 1 am quite that! For instance, 1 have nothing of 
the antiquary about me. I have no particular interest in a 
book because it is old or scarce or valuable as a curiosity. I am 
interested in the real value of its contents, especially when it 
deals with living issues, be they spiritual, moral, intellectual, or 
cultural. Very old books may do that, as the Bible does. It is 
ever ancient and always new. I am certainly very interested in 
books, but I am also interested in life, national, international, 
and personal. 1 am interested in an amateurish way in the arts, 
and have been a member of the Council of the Academy of 
Christian Art since its foundation. Forgive, reader, these and 
other details which seem of interest only to myself and feel 
painfully egotistical. They are, however, what the editor has 
asked of me. Moreover, they may serve to introduce the re- 
mainder of my books. 

My first writing relating to the national life, apart from Ire- 
land m Fiction, was a pamphlet reprinted from Studies: The 
Question of Irish Nationality (1913), in which I first sought a 
definition of nationhood and then applied it to Ireland. This 
was later included in a work planned and, indeed, completed 
some years ago: “Studies in Nationality and Nationalism.” It 
happened that 1 incorporated some chapters from this work in a 
lecture delivered in the National University. I lent the manu- 
script to a friend and never saw it again. Another full stop. 
(Similarly I lent to some one, I do not know whom, an inter- 
leaved copy of Catholic Juvenile Literature with the material 
for a new edition, and never saw it again!) 

Interest in international matters meant first membership of 
the League of Nations Society of Ireland and a pamphlet on 
Catholics and the League of Nations (1929) as well as a book. 
International Relations from a Catholic Standpoint (1932), 



which 1 edited and partly translated. It also led to attendance 
at four or five international congresses and the foundation of the 
Catholic Association for International Relations. 

As for personal life, outward and inward, we are all interested 
in that, one way or another, though to few does it occur to write 
books about it. Among my earliest attempts at writing was a 
series of little papers entitled **Talks with You,*’ which I con- 
tributed to a missionary review SL Josephus Sheaf, of which I was, 
later on, editor for some seven years. The outcome of this was 
another manuscript, a general work on the Foreign Missions, 
which never saw the light. In 1931, I did a translation, with 
Introduction and Notes, of P^re Gratry's Les Sources under the 
title The Well Springs. Then for some eight or nine years I 
contributed a series, or rather several series, of papers to the 
Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart. These I collected, revised, 
added to, and issued under the title From God to God: an Out- 
line of Life (1940). I had long felt that somewhere between the 
purely “spiritual” books and the books of practical advice about 
the conduct of daily life, there might be room for books that 
partake somewhat of the nature' of each, that would relate the 
inner life of the soul to the round of life as it is lived today. 
This was an attempt at such a book. Two hitherto unpublished 
manuscripts may, perhaps, be mentioned here: Studies in Life 
By and Large, and The Realization of God. 

It remains to mention two other books which are in the nature 
of hors d'oeuvres or at all events hors sene. Both were the out- 
come of tasks that were set me. The Press in Ireland: a Survey 
and a Guide (1937) was prepared in view of the Catholic Press 
Exhibition held at the Vatican in 1936. Poison and Balm (1938) 
was a course of lectures delivered in the Jesuit Church of St. 
Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street. They dealt with Communism 
and other cognate errors. 

Such then is my literary history to date for what it may be 
worth to the patient reader. One of its outstanding facts is that 
being a member of a religious Order since my fifteenth year, I 
have not had to write for a living: neither I myself nor my family 
depended for their bread and butter on my literary efforts. For- 



tunately, for there is no money in such books as I have published. 
Most of them, indeed, just paid for themselves, but little more. 
Fortunately also in another way, for I was not compelled to 
write with a very anxious eye on sales. On the other hand, to 
write books that are not going to be read or used is a useless 
occupation from every point of view. My aim throughout, I 
hope I can honestly say, was the advancement of the cause of 
truth and therefore of God. But, if the message never reaches 
those for whom it is meant, then the cause of truth is not ad- 
vanced. An obvious conclusion, sometimes overlooked by 
writers so modest that they make no effort to make known their 
writings. For that reason I am grateful to the editor for his 
invitation, the first I have received from anyone in my sixty 
years, to contribute to this book. 

editor’s note: Father Brown was bom in Hollywood, County Down, Ireland, 
in 1881, was educated at Clongowes Wood College* and ordained in the 
Society of Jesus in 1914. He is now librarian at Milltown Park, Dublin. 
His books include: The Press in Ireland (1937), Libraries and Literature from 
a Catholic Standpoint (1937), Poison and Balm (1938), The Preacher*s Library 
(1939), From God to God (new ed. 1942), International Relations from a 
Catholic Standpoint (1932), and Studies in Life By and Large (1942), all of 
whidi are published by Browne Se Nolan, Ltd. The Catholic Bibliographical 
Series is published by the Central Catholic Library, 74 Merrion Square, 
Dublin. A work provisionally titled A Survey of Catholic Literature is an- 
nounced by Bruce for their Science and Culture Series in 1943. 


Something about the dear old 

THE MAN WHO DOES DOt enjoy occasionally talking about himself 
will have to be sought with the famous lantern of Diogenes; in 
fact, he will not be found even if the most powerful modern 
searchlight were used in the quest. Unless one holds the center 
of the stage too long or at the inopportune moment when some- 
one else wants to step into the limelight, this common human 
foible arouses no resentment, but rather causes tolerant amuse- 
ment. This being so, the present writer without compunction 
frankly confesses to his fondness to the perpendicular pronoun 
whenever he can indulge his weakness without giving offense. 
Hence, when he was invited by the editor to write something 
about himself as a writer, he gladly embraced the opportunity. 
It may be that what he has to say will, besides mildly flattering 
the ego, also prove helpful to young aspirants after literary fame. 

Though I began writing in my student days, it always re- 
mained a sideline and was organically connected with my life 
work. The pen served to extend my vocational activities be- 
yond the narrow range of personal contacts. The choice of the 



subjects to which 1 addressed myself was dictated by the needs 
of the day, and there was never a dearth of appropriate topics 
because in our turbulent world live issues that stir public interest 
and challenge attention continuously crop up and imperiously 
demand solution. Thus it happened that 1 wrestled with a great 
variety of problems. Early in my career I was plunged headlong 
into the social controversy and endeavored to popularize the 
Papal labor encyclicals. In the wake of the first World War a 
wave of spiritism arose and swept the country; many a literary 
battle did I fight with this strange superstition. The wave of 
spiritism had hardly ebbed, when another fad gained consider- 
able v<^e, psychoanalysis, which became popular almost over- 
night and made everyone think that he could fathom the hidden 
depths of the human soul and give an account of all cultural 
achievements in terms of animal impulses arising from the un- 
conscious. In presence of such a challenge, my pen could not 
remain inactive. Of the abberations of the human mind there 
is no end. Eugenics, thus, made its appearance, and I was 
drawn into the controversy which it occasioned. The so-called 
new morality followed and made its appeal especially to the 
younger generation, which it incited to revolt against traditional 
moral codes. Here was a subtle menace that had to be met, 
and with many others I took up the fight in defense of the truth. 
If it does not sound too grandiloquent, I might state that the 
intellectual movements referred to constitute the big milestones 
in my literary activity, the intervals being filled with contribu- 
tions relative to the questions of the hour. For more than 
twenty-five years I wrote a regular weekly column for a news- 
paper. During this time I was a slave to the deadline which hung 
over my head like a threatening sword of Damocles, for everyone 
knows that the press is a greedy monster clamoring for copy at 
the appointed time. There is nothing like newspaper work to 
teach a man punctuality and to compel him to keep abreast of 
current events. Whatever the subject might be, I found it 
intriguing and wrote with a keen zest in response to a creative 
urge that welled up in my soul and pressed for utterance. Withal 
I never took myself too seriously and never for a moment im- 



agined that the world needed me very badly or that I had a 
special message to deliver which no one else was competent to 
put across. I did, however, sincerely try to fill and grace the little 
niche into which destiny had placed me. For the encouragement 
and solace of the beginner, I do not hesitate to confess that two 
or j:hree of my earlier manuscripts were rejected. Few writers 
will escape this humiliating experience which has a very whole- 
some effect because it serves to deflate the ego. 

If I were asked to pick out the experiences that have most 
effectually influenced my outlook on life and left their imprint 
on my writing, I would point to the work I did among the under- 
privileged in the slums of London and Glasgow shortly after my 
ordination to the priesthood in 1911. These experiences find 
place in my book, Meine Retse nach Schottland (1904). Many 
noble traits can be discovered in those whose lot is cast along 
hard lines. From this time dates my warm sympathy for the 
underdog, for the defrauded and for those whom life seems to 
have passed by. If we only realized it, nothing affords greater 
happiness than to brighten the days of those into whose lives 
little sunshine falls. 

As a tyro I cultivated a florid style. As I now occasionally 
reread the products of my youthful fancy, a smile comes to my 
lips at the profusion of colors with which I have splashed the 
page, and the illustrations which I gleaned from the vast spaces 
of the universe; I robbed the heaven of its stars, the fields of 
their flowers, the earth of its jewels to adorn a page and rested 
not until it glowed with the opalescent hues of the rainbow. 
Later I abandoned this ornate style and labored chiefly to give 
sharp outline and clearcut embodiment to the ideas I wished to 
bring home. In the formation of my style I derived great help 
from my amateurish attempts at making poetry. Poetry is unsur- 
passed as a mental discipline; it curbs the diffusiveness and 
exuberance to which the imagination naturally runs; it makes for 
lucidity of diction, and teaches economy of words, because the 
thought must be fully bodied forth in a circumscribed space. 
The poetry which flowed from my pen may be devoid of literary 
value, but it served me well as mental gymnastics. 



In my creed of optimism I have never faltered. In spite of the 
setback which civilization at the present is experiencing, I am 
fully convinced that mankind is heading toward a happier 
future. Teaching, which has kept me in close touch with youth, 
has prevented me from growing old in spirit, and self-centered. 
Far from sharing the supercilious opinion of those who hold that 
the growing generation does not measure up to the ideals and 
standards of the good old days and that the world is racing 
toward disaster, I am quite confident that the fate of humanity 
will be safe in the hands of these young people who are preparing 
themselves to face the responsibilities and tasks of life. 

It is in keeping with the tenor of this sketch if it ends on a 
whimsical note. Students have a way of giving nicknames to 
their teachers, and these labels often strikingly hit off a charac- 
teristic trait or a ludicrous mannerism. The practice is universal 
and mostly inoffensive. Now I feel that I have reason to boast 
that none of the nicknames by which I was labeled stuck to me 
except the very harmless one of Pugs, which was coined in 
reference to my slightly uptilted nose, that gave me a remote 
resemblance to Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher and 

editor’s note* Fathei Bruehl was born in Herdorf, Germany, in 1876, and 
was educated at Pensacola, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio, St. Charles Seminary, 
Overbrook, University of Muenster, and Louvain University. He received his 
doctorate in philosophy at Louvain in 1904 Following pastoral work in 
London, Glasgow, and Philadelphia, he taught theology at St. Franas Semi- 
nary, near Milwaukee, 1909 to 1914, and since 1914 at St. Charles Seminary 
He is also on the faculty of the Catholic Summer School of America. His 
books include Btrth Control and Eugemes m the Light of Fundamental 
Principles, 1928, J. Wagner, The Pope*s Plan for Social Reconstruction- 
a commentary on the social encyclicals of Pius XI, 1939, Dcvin-Adair, This 
Wivy Happiness: ethics, the science of the good life, 1941, Bruce. 

MY FATHER HAD WISHED to be a lawyer and was educated, accord- 
ing to the standards of his day, for that profession; but his 
father, a prosperous farmer, persuaded his only son to remain 
on the farm. Father married a Lockport girl, and neither of 
them liked or ever became reconciled to the country and farm 
life. They raised six children, and father was determined that 
at least his four sons should aspire to something higher than 
tilling the soil, and that no one of them should be thwarted in 
his ambitions, as he had been. 

There were twelve years between Frank, my eldest brother, 
and me; and father had selected us two for the law from our 
childhood. Frank was a brilliant boy and student, always lead- 
ing his classes in the district school, at Lockport high school, and 
at Cornell University. Unlike myself, he was normally robust 
in health and was blessed with calm nerves. I was so delicate 
from birth that my mother later often said she never expected 
me to live to grow up. On account of frailty, I was not sent to 



school until I was nine, and then only in the forenoon for two 
or three hours. I had learned to read the primer at home. Had 
I not learned everything with a minimum of efiEort, I could never 
have accomplished anything with books and study. Throughout 
my youth and many subsequent years of education I was never 
able to study at night, after supper, nor for long hours during the 
day, like most of my fellow-students; I simply did not have the 
physical strength and endurance to stand such strain. More- 
over, in addition to bodily weakness, if not because of it, all 
through my student days I found mental concentration a terrific 
difficulty. I could not keep my mind from wandering every- 
where all the time. It was the readiness with which 1 grasped 
things, as just remarked, that enabled me to learn anything. 
Only in after years, when studying scholastic philosophy in Latin 
as a student for the priesthood, did I begin to get my wandering 
mind under control. I have often recalled since the sense of 
calmness and repose which this mental concentration brought 
me. It was such a relief! And yet, because of a certain quickness 
of mind and a fairly good memory, coupled with ambition and 
a driving energy, I was always among the first in my classes. I 
think my teachers and professors would bear me out in saying 
that my examination marks were uniformly high. 

As 1 have said, my father marked me for the law from my 
earliest years. He wanted me to become a great trial lawyer, and 
to this end to be an eloquent speaker, a real orator. He himself 
was a natural born public speaker, and the finest reader 1 ever 
listened *to. As a part of my training, all during my boyhood at 
home, he used to read aloud to me very frequently, almost every 
day. He read especially the speeches, orations, and sermons of 
the best speakers and preachers, living and dead, ancient history 
and biography. I always greatly enjoyed listening to that read- 
ing, and I think it helped much to develop in me a natiural talent 
which 1 had for speaking and writing. 1 too wanted to be a 
great lawyer and orator, and my vivid boyish imagination often 
pictured a distinguished career for me in that direction. So 
eager was I to become a writer and an orator that I often tried to 



write without knowing anything to write about, and often in the 
barn and fields of our farm did I, as a very young boy, deliver 
speeches, with my younger sister as the only listener. My brother 
Frank and 1 were to have our flourishing law offices, not in 
Lockport, our county-seat, but in Buffalo, the Queen City of the 
Lakes, which, to our youthful fancies and rural conceptions, was 
bewildering in its appeal and allurement. The future was all 
glorious. The very thought of it often thrilled me. There was 
glory, fame, distinction, wealth, applause, all gleaming and wait- 
ing, as it were, in the golden sunshine of the morning of life, 
and beckoning to me. 

But at the close of my first year in high school something 
happened. A family in Lockport, well known to my family, had 
a son studying for the priesthood somewhere far away in the 
Dominican Order, and he was coming home to say his First Mass 
that summer. My father and I were to attend that First Mass. 
The day before we were in a lawyer’s office in the city, and I was 
looking at the many law books and asking a young lawyer there 
how much reading and study would be necessary for admission 
to the bar. I was full of these thoughts as we entered the church 
the next morning to assist at the First Mass. After the Gospel 
in the Mass, a Reverend Doctor McConnell, the assistant pastor 
of the church, ascended the pulpit and preached a long sermon 
on prayer, making no reference to the young priest or the First 
Mass. Well, the effect of that sermon on me was such that I left 
that church completely changed in my thoughts, plans, purposes, 
ambition, my whole life. The world and its glories, which I had 
been picturing before, seemed to turn to dust and ashes and fade 
away. There was only one thing that mattered now, and that 
was God and His glory. Thereafter for three years I lived above 
the clouds and walked among the stars. My thoughts were now 
on the pursuit of holiness instead of worldliness. 1 would be- 
come a sacred orator and writer, seeking the approval of God 
and the rewards of Heaven rather than the applause of men and 
the goods of earth. Sermons do have an effect, sometimes. 

I continued my studies at high school for another year. And 



then went to Canisius College, Buffalo. My first intention was 
to become a Jesuit Father, and my father wanted me to do that; 
but later I met a Dominican who prevailed on me to join his 
Order rather than the Jesuits, pointing out and stressing my frail 
health which, he said, could never stand the long and severe 
course of training required by the vigorous followers of St. 
Ignatius. After two years at Canisius College, among Jesuit 
Fathers, who were as saintly as they were learned, whose every 
act and appearance was an inspiration, 1 became a Dominican, 
going far away to the wilds of Kentucky for my novitiate. The 
change from my former self and thoughts and aspirations was so 
radical that for some years what had been almost a passion to 
become a writer and a speaker calmed down and receded into 
the background. But that abating of an inborn tendency was 
only for a time. Absorption in the study of Latin, Greek, and 
philosophy could not remove or extinguish a consuming fire that 
had flamed up in childhood and had been burning with in> 
creasing intenseness throughout my growing years. 

I never outgrew the physical frailty and weak nervous system 
with which I came into the world. For a long time after I en- 
tered college, I had reason to fear that I should never be able to 
learn enough Latin to be ordained, so little study and confine- 
ment could I stand. During my first years as a religious 1 bore 
up fairly well, but at length the strain of observance and the 
increasing burden of studies became too much for me, and 1 
broke seriously down the year before my ordination. From that 
breakdown I never fully recovered. Not that I had then to give 
up my studies here at home or forego postgraduate courses after- 
wards in Europe, but that my sufferings immensely increased and 
I often had to work in a state of physical agony. Before long 
1 saw that a life of public speaking and preaching, which requires 
much physical strength and endurance, was not for me. But 
I had to do something beyond the ordinary. My driving nature 
would not have it otherwise. If I had to give up a preaching 
career, and be satisfied with speaking just on Sundays, Holydays, 
and special occasions, then, while doing that, I would turn with 



greater effort to my other ambition, to become a writer. I had 
always loved the polished word and phrase; the clear, the 
rounded, the forceful sentence; the nicely balanced paragraph; 
the pictured, compelling page. 

When I had completed my studies abroad, I was in such poor 
physical condition that my superiors exempted me from all work 
fof a year. But during that time 1 could not refrain from some 
reading of good prose and poetry, a review of English grammar 
and rhetoric, and a little writing — ^all very painfully done, a bit 
at a time, between long hours of would-be rest and diversion, 
I was really not able to do anything, but a tormenting ambition 
goaded me on. Trying to rest, I became more than ever restless; 
trying to regain lost strength, I seemed to be losing what little 
I had. So after a year I returned to work and was assigned to 
teach philosophy at the Dominican House of formal studies in 
Washington, D. C. That was in the autumn of 1909. I re- 
mained there for six years. Small improvement in health en- 
abled me to do my teaching with success and to write a number 
of articles for theological magazines. During those years also, 
in the spring of 1912, John Murphy Co. of Baltimore published 
my first book. Out of Shadows into Light, That same year, in 
collaboration with Fr. J. A. McHugh, O.P., and Fr. Thomas a 
Kempis Reilly, O.P., I completed and published two liturgical 
works for Dominican Sisters, The Dominican Sisters* Office 
Book, and The Dominican Sisters* Hymnal and Rubric Book. 
By the summer of 1915 I had finished the manuscript of another 
book. The Shepherd of my Soul, which was published that fall. 

But the strict and confining life at Washington at length 
proved to be too much for a constitution like mine. It likewise 
became too hard for my friend and associate in work, Fr. J. A. 
McHugh. We were both on the verge of physical collapse. Our 
Superiors therefore decided that a change of place and a more 
healthful climate were necessary for us, if our usefulness was not 
to be lost. Accordingly, in the late summer of 1915, Fr. McHugh 
and I were transferred to Hawthorne, New York, to reside at 
Holy Rosary Rectory there and teach at Maryknoll Seminary 



on-the-Hudson, thus being compelled to get the daily change 
and diversion of going by automobile between the two places, a 
distance of seven miles each way. 

That change of places and environment, though accompanied 
by hardships of other kinds, was providential for both Fr. 
McHugh and myself. Besides improving our health, it im- 
mensely enlarged our opportunities for richer and more varied 
experiences and greater literary activity. Soon, in addition to 
our teaching at Maryknoll, we were given charge of Holy Rosary 
parish, then in its crude beginnings. In the summer of 1916 we 
became the editors of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, New 
York, little realizing at the time that we should retain this posi- 
tion so many years and build that periodical up from a rather 
insignificant magazine to an influence of first importance among 
the Catholic clergy Reviews. That same year I edited a book 
on preaching, called Illustrations for Sermons, which was a 
marked success from its outset. 

The superiors, students, sisters and whole atmosphere of 
Maryknoll were an inspiration at all times. For the first four 
years there I taught philosophy and Holy Scripture, thereafter 
only Scripture, Old and New Testaments. Experience in every 
kind of practical work in Holy Rosary parish enriched my 
teaching and writing. Within the next few years I wrote and 
published in succession Commentaries on the Four Gospels, The 
Acts of the Apostles, and all the Epistles of St, Paul, In 1920, 
at the request of Archbishop (later Cardinal) Hayes of New 
York, Fr. McHugh and I prepared a sermon course for the New 
York Archdiocese known as A Program of Doctrinal Instructions, 
which for twelve consecutive years was the official book for 
Sunday sermons and instructions in the Archdiocese, and soon 
was widely adopted by many other Bishops in this country and in 
the English-speaking world generally. This briefer work in one 
volume led within the next two years to a supplementary work 
in four volumes entitled, A Parochial Course of Doctrinal In- 
structions, Since both of these works were based on the Cate- 
chism of the Council of Trent, Fr. McHugh and I found it de- 


sirable to make a new translation of that classic, which we 
brought out with Introduction and notes in 1922. 

All during those years, and for years before coming to Haw- 
thorne, we two Fathers had had as a hobby a study of English 
prose style as exemplified in the best English and American 
authors. I often remarked to Fr. McHugh that 1 should never 
die happy unless we produced a special work on the principal 
qualities of English prose. In collaboration with Fr. McHugh 
and my brother, Frank H. Callan, that work was finally done 
and published in 1923 under the title of Excellence tn English 
or The Power of Prose. It appeared under my brother Frank's 

My writing was interrupted in 1924 by the long and arduous 
work of preparing matter for an examination in Rome required 
for the degree of Mastership in Sacred Theology. That extra 
strain cost me dearly in health. It brought on a condition of 
neuritis and arthritis which for several years made heavy com- 
position impossible. For a while it seemed as if my writing 
career were over. But Fr. McHugh one day suggested that we 
bring out a new general prayer book. That would be an easier 
kind of literary work. And so we set about it, and during the 
following ten years we produced those devotional works, like 
Blessed Be God, The Catholic Missal, and the rest, which are 
long since well known and widely circulated. By 1927, however, 
I was again able to do some heavier work, along with the devo- 
tional books; and between then and 1931 Fr. McHugh and I, in 
collaboration, wrote and published a commentary on the Psalms, 
and a general Moral Theology in two large volumes. In 1936, 
I was appointed one of the editors of the Confraternity New 
Testament, and in 1937 Fr. McHugh and I completed the editing 
and publishing of Fr. Spencer's translation of the New Testa- 
ment from the original Greek, the first work of its kind ever done 
in America. My last independent work, up to this present date, 
was The Parables of Christ which was finished and published in 
the fall in 1940 and chosen by the Spiritual Book Associates as 
their book of the month for December of that year. 



I have mentioned in this sketch only the principal literary 
works which I have written alone or in collaboration, chiefly 
with Fr. McHugh. All during these many years I have also 
written a good number of articles, book reviews, and the like, 
for various publications. But it is not necessary to mention these 
now. My purpose here has been to comply with the request of 
the editor of this work, which was to tell how I became a writer, 
what occasioned the publication of my principal books, and what 
have been some of the experiences and associations in my writ- 
ing career. I myself have always found it very interesting, and 
often inspiring, to learn something of the labors, the conditions, 
the handicaps, which authors have endured in producing their 
works. Whenever I see an article giving an interview with an 
author I read it with attention, and usually with profit. I like 
to compare my experiences with those of other writers. It is 
frequently encouraging. It helps to know how others have done 
their work. 

As to the making of an author who will produce anything 
worthwhile, I would say before all else that he must first be born 
to his art. He needs to have a natural love of literature and a 
desire to express himself in writing. If no literary spark is native 
to him, no flame will ever be kindled, no fire ever burn to warm 
and enlighten others. 

Next he must acquire a store of knowledge, of thoughts and 
ideas, opinions and judgments, gathered by labor and observa- 
tion, which he wishes to communicate to others. 

Thirdly, he must himself learn by careful reading and study of 
the writings of acknowledged authorities how they have chosen 
their words, formed their phrases and clauses, built their sen- 
tences, and delivered their messages. Here teachers and schools 
are mere external aids, as in all other education; the real work 
must be done by the person himself, or it will never be done at 
all. The scholar is made, not in the schoolrooms, but in his 
own room, before his own desk, alone. 

In the fourth place, the would-be writer must go from his 
books to life, must ponder the differences between theory and 



practice, must compare the ideal and the real. Only then will 
he be speaking to men instead of about them, and in terms which 
mean anything to them. 

Finally, there is the indispensable discipline which comes from 
doing oneself what one wishes to accomplish. We learn by 
study, observation and the help and direction of others, but more 
especially by doing things ourselves. If we would learn to write 
we must write, and keep on writing. We must put all we have 
studied and learned in whatever way through the mill of our 
own minds and express it in our own manner, if it is to be fresh 
and vigorous and have any living value for others. 

editor’s note* Father Callan, a Consultor of the Pontifical Biblical Ck>mini$- 
sion, received the degree of Lector of Sacred Theology from the University 
of Fribourg, Switzerland, 1908, Master of Sacred Theology from Angelico 
University, Rome, 1931, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature 
from Gonzaga College, Washington, D. C., 1925. 


CONTRARY lo THE OPINION held of Ruthors in general, 1 am one 
merely per accidens in every meaning of the phrase; for my 
writing constitutes a minor hobby dependent on my primary 
duties as a Franciscan missionary in the southwest; in fact, this 
literary leaning sprouted from my studies for the priesthood. 
Even my books, so far, were published “by accident.” 

Born in New Mexico in 1910, of Spanish-American parentage, 
I spent my happy boyhood in a beautiful Rocky Mountain 
valley at a time when English was seldom heard outside the 
schoolroom. Summers were spent hunting and fishing and 
exploring in the canyons or on the steep forested slopes, but the 
heavy winter snows kept little fellows at home. Luckily 1 was an 
avid reader, and the old set of encyclopedias at home was my 
frequent browsing ground. There were a few other books at 
hand, and I still thrill with the memory of my first acquaintance 
with Grimm's Fairy Tales, a prose edition of the Greek mythol- 
ogies, and the Tales of King Arthur, 

References in history to the Franciscan Padres in California 



and the southwest fired me with the desire to be one myself, al- 
though I had never seen one in the flesh. At the age of fourteen 
1 found myself at St. Francis Seminary in Cincinnati, a thin lad, 
very conscious of his broken English and backwoods manner. 1 
think my early self-training in reading, plus an ambition to com- 
pete with my fellow students in the use of their language turned 
my interests to literature, when I began imitating the classic au- 
thors of English. By and by I was having original verse and 
prose printed in Catholic periodicals, though other more im- 
portant studies took most of my attention and efforts. On enter- 
ing the novitiate at the age of nineteen, 1 was given a religious 
name, after the great medieval painter. Fra Angelico of Fiesole; 
for painting is another beloved hobby which I unconsciously de- 
veloped without benefit of instructor. (On occasion I produce 
murals on church walls in a primitive sort of way, wherefore I 
also read and hear that I am an artist I) 

The arduous and exacting studies on one’s long way to the 
priesthood left precious little time for literary reading and writ- 
ing, but somehow I had something published every month in 
this or that magazine up to my ordination in 1937. A handful of 
pieces, all verse, stood out above the average. 

I returned to my home State as its first native Franciscan Padre, 
my boyhood dream a fact. My work among my people and the 
Pueblo Indians, where the priest must be a do-all in order to 
forge ahead, leaves little time or energy for hobbies. I became a 
“book-author” and “by accident,” when a group of nationally- 
known authors made a selection of my poems and published 
them in a pretty volume, called Clothed with the Sun. Had 1 
not been stationed in this part of the country which is a mecca 
for artists and writers, I would not have a single book to my 
credit. This edition of my poems sold out in a remarkably short 
time, although the purchasers were few among Catholic readers. 

As 1 was sorting some manuscripts sometime later, 1 saw that 
two of my already published short stories fitted well with a third, 
which did not exist but at that moment was breaking out in my 
head. 1 wrote this third ingredient right away, drew some hur- 
ried sketches, and mailed all without serious hope to a Catholic 



publisher. St. Anthony Guild Press caused the second accident 
by immediately accepting and publishing the illustrated trio of 
stories entitled New Mexico Triptych, in 1940. I fear the pub- 
lisher is far from satisfied with the response of his Catholic 

A series of related lyrics is completed and awaiting publication. 
My best poems have appeared mostly in Spirit, from whose pages 
three of them have made their way into a British anthology, 
Moult’s Best Poems of 1938, 1940, and 1941. 

EDITOR’S note: St. Anthony Guild Press published Father Chavez’ Clothed 
with the Sun, in 1939, and his New Mexico Triptych, in 1940. 


(Mrs. Talbot Clifton) 

WILLIAM NELTHORPE BEAUCLERR, son of Lord Frederick Beau- 
clerk, and grandson of the then Duke of St. Albans, belonged to 
the Diplomatic Service, and was en poste in Rome when in 1883, 
Violet Mary Beauclerk, afterwards Violet Clifton, was bom. It 
was in the British Legation in Lima, Peru, that she met John 
Talbot Clifton, her husband-to-be, and was married to him at 
the Oratory, Brompton Road, London, in 1907. Talbot Clifton, 
older by fifteen years than Violet, was a sportsman and an ex- 
plorer, and he soon afterwards took his wife to remote islands, in 
several of which she was the first white woman to have been seen 
by the inhabitants. 

Her first book, now out of print, was called Pilgrims to the Isles 
of Penance, It tells of a journey to the Andaman Islands, in one 
of which the aborigines lived in their primitive state; and beyond 
the Andamans to the Nicobar Islands. The strangeness of these 
Islands caused Violet Clifton to write this book of travel. She 
had always wished, and attempted to write both poetry and prose. 



but her life was not now conducive to the practice of art. Her 
household, her quickly increasing family, and above all, her 
husband’s affairs, absorbed her time, and she had as well social, 
charitable and political functions to perform in the locality of 
her Lancashire home, where her husband. Squire of Lytham and 
Lord of the Manor, then owned about 25,000 acres, and in the 
neighborhood of which the Cliftons had lived since the year 
1100 A.D., through the time of the Confiscation of the Church 
lands, through the time of the Civil Wars between the Stuarts 
and the Roundheads, at which time Sir Thomas Clifton, the 
head of the family, was banished and later, by Charles II, was 
re-established on his lands. 

Just before the birth of her fifth child, Michael, Violet Clifton 
became a Catholic, having passed through Agnosticisrii, Spiritual- 
ism and Theosophy on the way. 

Before the War of 1914, Talbot Clifton took his wife to the 
Dutch East Indies, which Islands they visited in two long suc- 
cessive journeys, because the first journey was curtailed by Violet 
having black-water fever in the Mentaweii Group, south of 
Sumatra. In Mentaweii the inhabitants were still untamed sav- 
ages, and the islands were visited only by a doctor who, once a 
month or less often, inspected the Javanese convicts, sent to the 
islands to make some beginning of cultivation in the pathless 
virgin forests. North Pagi, Nias and Sumbaya were amongst the 
further islands Talbot and Violet reached, and they walked, ac- 
companied by Indian carriers, and cut their way through the 
forest undergrowth, from South to North Celebes. The Islands 
of Queen Wtlhelmina (Constable), also out of print, tells of these 
two oflE-the-map journeys, where Violet Clifton was many times 
the first white woman to have been seen. She was later elected 
an Honorary Member of the Society of Women Geographers, in 
Washington. This second book was a work better written than 
her first, and it breaks new ground as giving in English an ac- 
count of some things till then only treated of in Dutch, and pos- 
sibly in German, papers. The Introduction in the book was 
from the pen of Lord Dunsany. 



During the War of 1914-1918, Violet Clifton accompanied her 
husband to Belgium, where they worked with the Hector Munro 
Ambulance, and later, having joined the R.N.V.R., Talbot, now 
Lieutenant Clifton, was charged with guarding the coast of Con- 
nemara and the neighbouring islands. Mrs. Clifton accompanied 
him to Inishbohn, Inishturk, the Arran Islands, and elsewhere, 
when, on his ketch, he visited the Coastguards and watched for 
mines. At the end of the War, the Mons Cross with Ypres Bar, 
and the War and Victory Medals, were bestowed on Talbot, and 
also on Violet Clifton. 

After a journey to out-of-the-way places inland from the Gulf 
of Persia, and another journey to the French West Coast of 
Africa, Violet was left a widow, and over a space of five years she 
wrote The Book of Talbot. The book was based on Talbot Clif- 
ton’s diaries, but which demanded study to amplify Violet’s 
knowledge of the places and peoples described by her, but which 
she had never seen, for the journeys treated of were the explora- 
tions of Talbot before his marriage. This book was composed 
for the most part in the Island of Islay; for Talbot had ceased 
living at Lytham, which residence was too urban for his taste, 
and had bought a property in Islay. 

The Book of Talbot is a book which the author could not have 
written in any but a remote place, herself forgetful of people, 
and writing, as Plotinus advised men to write, as though to 
Homer and the gods. It was refused by several publishers, one 
of whom labelled it “Old fashioned travel”; another broke his 
contract by refusing at the last moment to publish a book of 
which none could predicate the success or failure. Messrs. Faber 
& Faber, encouraged by the advice of Herbert Reid, and of 
Lawrence of Arabia, published it in 193S. It ran into four edi- 
tions in America (Harcourt, Brace), and was given the biggest 
literary award in the British Isles, namely the Tait Black Memo- 
rial Prize, which was awarded through the University of Glasgow. 
The second edition has now been published by Faber & Faber, 
whilst the Penguin Press is preparing a shortened War edition. 
Violet Clifton’s passionate contemplation of the life and travels 



of Talbot, her pleasure in wild nature, combined with her love 
and disciplined use of the English language, gave power and 
beauty to The Book of Talbot 

In 1934 Sheed & Ward published her play written in verse 
called Sanctity, based on the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. 
This drama has been played in colleges and by societies, in Eng- 
land, Ireland, Canada, the Philippines, and the United States. 
The first form of the play, being suited rather to the study than 
to the stage, Mrs. Clifton slightly altered; and it is this second 
version that Sheed & Ward publishes. The play is lyrical and 
moving, and for the most part is written in short lines to retain 
the feeling of St. Elizabeth’s mediaeval era. 

Violet Clifton’s last published work is Chartster (Dent), a poem 
in varying metres. In this poem Dante explains to one called 
The Woman the triple nature of the spiritual soul of man, 
original sin. Redemption and grace, the Resurrection, and the 
nature of the glorified body. This poem attracted fewer readers 
than The Book of Talbot or Sanctity, but the London Times 
Literary Supplement reviewed it under the heading A Spiritual 
Achievement, and some of the graver reviews praised it. Violet 
Clifton considers this book to be probably her best work, for she 
believes that she has shaped some aspects of theology into a 
poetical form, terse and lucid. 

Her last work is to be called The Book of Voices: a saga of 
Peru. It is now in the hands of a reader for a London publisher. 
Book One is of the Peruvian Inca Kings, the Book of Kings; then 
follows the Book of Conquerers; and last comes the Book of 
Saints, the saints of Peru. The Books illustrate the Time of 
Magic, the Time of Experience, the Time of Religion. 

To young Catholic writers, Violet Clifton would say that a 
writer should not moralize or show like and dislike; but should, 
as far as he can, reflect truth without the intermeddling of his 
personal juc^ments. And that, if a writer has not had the su- 
preme advantage of a classical education, he must try to compen- 
sate for that lack by study of his own language, and by a disci- 
pline in writing. Do not write as you would talk; write better. 



Aim at words exactly fitting your sense, at a crystal clearness; 
read your writing out loud, for words should be pleasing to hear; 
they belong to the ear rather than to the eye. Writing demands 
both a truth to be conveyed and an art for that conveyance. 
Violet Clifton often quotes a saying of Francois Mauriac, which 
ripis: A man does not write the book that he wishes to write, he 
writes the book that he deserves to write. 

editor’s note. Mrs. Clifton’s books include The Book of Talbot, 1937, Faber; 
Chorister, 1938, Dent; Islands of Queen Wtlhelmtna, Houghton, Sanctity, 
1934, Sheed. 

IF THERE BE ANYONE who will be interested in learning how I be- 
came somewhat known as a writer, I shall try to satisfy his curios- 
ity at the risk of being dull. I was born in Chicago, when the 
city was beginning to recover from the shock of the great fire, in 
that part of the west side which the fire had not touched. If 
there were any literary traditions in Chicago at the time, they 
did not exist in my neighborhood. 1 cannot explain to myself 
how I came to like reading. I used to spend my pennies on 
Mother Goose tales, sold separately in candy-shops for a penny 
apiece and gorgeously illustrated, until I was old enough to read 
the adventures of Diamond Dick and Old Cap Collier. These 
paper-covered novels were not in favor with my parents and my 
devotion to them had to be exercised discreetly. 

I think I was ready to read anything printed and find it inter- 

While I was going to a public school from the age of six to 



nine, because the parochial school was too far for short legs in 
confusing city streets, my mother sent me to the parochial Sun- 
day-school every week in charge of an older boy. We used to 
receive a copy of the Sunday-school paper for attendance. This 
paper had three different names and colored covers and styles of 
foj^mat, which rotated every week. The Mirror, The Companion, 
and The Messenger; a little point which I would like to call to 
the attention of modern psychologists in religion. The illustra- 
tions and matter were mostly about saints and missionaries. 1 
found them entrancing. I am extremely glad the “funnies" had 
not yet arrived. 

One of the few memories surviving those early days is of an 
incident on my first day at Sunday-school. The school was called 
the Holy Family School and, while we were waiting for the bell 
to ring, I glued my face with frank curiosity to a window in the 
basement where the janitor’s family lived. I naturally thought 
it was the Holy Family. No rudeness was intended. 

Sometimes a big boy with forces behind him would waylay us 
on our way home and commandeer my Sunday-school paper; not 
because he wanted to read it so much as to provide proof at his 
home that he had not skipped Sunday-school. 

While I was attending the public school, my mother set me a 
daily task of learning a page of the catechism and arranged with 
my father to hear me recite it in the evening. Although I believe 
I usually acquitted myself fairly well (I had better), I cannot say 
I took too kindly to this very important side of literature. I have 
always found it hard to memorize anything, although 1 have al- 
ways been thankful for whatever I have been forced to memorize. 
1 wish 1 had done more of it. 

The only other incident of those days that 1 can recall is the 
finding of a soiled piece of paper flying about on a street, which 
I picked up and read with devouring eagerness. It was a leaf 
from Irving’s Life of Columbus describing the excitement of the 
crews over the first signs of land at the end of their long voyage. 

St. Ignatius College, Chicago, in charge of Jesuits, was a com- 
bination high-school and college — three years of high-school and 



four of college — ^with a classical course and a commercial course. 
My parents entered me in the classical course. I now had plenty 
of resources in the way of books, with the altar-boys' library, the 
college library and the public library. I found the first years too 
easy in the classroom, keeping well to the front without much 
studying, taking the honors in composition, arithmetic, penman- 
ship and English grammar without effort on knowledge previ- 
ously acquired in the parochial school. I had books now and 
time to read them. I liked athletic sports but was never robust 
enough to be in much demand when contests were being organ- 
ized. Delicate health probably gave me more opportunities and 
incentives to read than came to stronger lads. 

I would like to observe here that, while poor health may offer 
abundant chances to read, it is the worst kind of equipment for 
writing. Contrary to the common belief based on exceptional 
instances, the most successful writers have been sturdy persons 
with huge funds of vitality and vigor which could make light of 
the exhaustion of composition and the accompanying reaction of 
physical collapse and low spirits. The odds are in favor of the 
writer who starts out with buoyant health. 

I think it was in my first year of college (in modern style, my 
fourth year of high-school) that I began to appreciate and enjoy 
literary style. There was a literary coterie among the members 
of the college classes in which the novelists, poets, and essayists 
were discussed freely. In the debating society they were some- 
times discussed heatedly. One boy in my class (fourth year high) 
created a sensation by announcing that he had read Locke On 
the Understanding. Most of us had not got beyond Ruskin and 
Carlyle. I attempted to read that year Newman's Idea of a Uni- 
versity; but it was too much for me except in conveying some 
notion of the meaning and value of a liberal education. Three 
years later a copy of the Apologia fell into my hands and I 
walked about in a sort of ecstasy for several days. The effect of 
Newman's matchless music and his high, serene, yet impassioned, 
spirit was actually physical. 

The Latin authors who interested me were Ovid, Virgil and 



Cicero: but Horace helped me to see the literary value of idiom 
and brevity. The only Greek author I went for was Homer; 
probably because, as some Frenchman put it, he makes you feel 
thirty feet tall; and I was not tall. One year a few of us from 
various classes in the college used to meet two or three times a 
we^k to read Virgil together. We had Sophocles in my last year 
at college, and I attempted Aeschylus's Prometheus with another 
boy out of school hours without getting very far. 

Chicago was becoming literary-minded by this time. Eugene 
Field was appearing regularly in the Daily News; Robert Louis 
Stevenson's St, Ives ran serially in one of the newspapers; and 
now and then a new poem by Tennyson was a newspaper feature. 
In fourth year high, I wrote a rather long Christmas story in 
verse after the manner of Scott for a class composition. The 
following year the Daily News offered money prizes for the best 
Christmas stories by pupils in Chicago schools, arranged in di- 
visions according to their age. My teacher suggested that I send 
in my class exercise of the previous year to be entered among the 
oldest group of contestants between sixteen and eighteen. Mrs. 
Logan, the wife of General Logan, was the judge, and she 
awarded a prize to my verses and they were printed in the News. 
The prize was twenty dollars; more money than I have ever since 
received for verses. 

Although 1 made no appearance in print again for many years, 
that single foray into public notice gave me among my friends 
the reputation of a poet, and I was generally called upon when- 
ever an occasion seemed to demand the decoration of verse. I 
cannot explain this because whatever literary ardor 1 may have 
has been mostly directed to the cultivation of prose. The trou- 
ble with a reputation is that everyone expects you to live up to 
it. However, if one has a bent for writing, it almost forces him 
to develop it. 

I became a Jesuit at eighteen. Literature, I think, had some- 
thing to do with that step. I saw that literature, while it glorified 
the best in human nature (it has in recent years taken to mockery 
of the best), affords no very effective measures for translating the 



momentary enthusiasm it awakens for goodness into permanent 
rules of life. Indeed, that is not its ofi&ce. At one and the same 
time it makes us feel virtuous and affords excuses and palliations 
for lapses. 1 had begun to experience the slackening effects of 
literature on my hold of certain essential truths; and, as these 
truths were vastly more important than literature, I decided to 
do what 1 could to hang on to them. 

For seven years after becoming a Jesuit, I wrote a great deal, I 
dare say, for my own amusement, filling note-books with odds 
and ends, but nothing for publication. In the five-year teaching 
interval during my Jesuit studies, I taught Latin, Greek, English 
and history at St. Louis University, and also had charge of a 
monthly college publication for three years and of a bi-monthly 
for two. These periodicals aimed to be literary and contained 
contributions from the faculty as well as from the students. As 
editor, I had a fine opportunity for printing my own things: 
sometimes it was a necessity when contributions ran low. 

After my ordination I resumed teaching in 1907. During my 
second year Father Wynne started America on its successful 
course in the spring of 1909 and I contributed a few articles for 
the early numbers. It was my first appearance before the general 
public. America needed a literary editor and I was selected for 
the post in September. 

And that is how I became known as a writer of sorts. There is 
not much more to be said. I returned to teaching after two years 
of literary editorship, but continued to write articles and reviews 
during moments of leisure. Writing ceased to be my main occu- 
pation for nine years when it was again resumed on my appoint- 
ment to the staff of The Queen* s Work, where I remained, ex- 
cepting a year in England, for five years. Then back to teaching, 
but on a diminished scale which gave me more time for writing. 
At this time I became one of the non-resident editors of Thought, 
a quarterly published in New York as an adjunct of America 
until a few years ago when it became a publication of the Ford- 
ham University. 

My new leisure gave me time to become an author of books. 



In 1921 my superior had asked me to write a pamphlet on St. 
John Berchmans whose third centenary was celebrated that year. 
The pamphlet turned into a small book, a study of the saint, 
which was published in the autumn. It is little known. My 
period of authorship may be said to begin ten years later with 
the appearance of A Cheerful Ascetic, It will be seen that I was 
nearly sixty at the time. No one can accuse me of rushing into 
authorship prematurely. In the succeeding decade came Bos- 
cobel and Other Rimes, The Road to Peace, a Memoir of 
Nicholas Frederic Brady (for private circulation), and The Jesuit 
in Focus, 

The one great advantage in being a writer is to be able to do 
something towards keeping alive in the world what I have called 
above the essential truths of life which every literary art is being 
employed to distort and bury out of sight. Louise Imogen 
Guiney, in one of her letters to me, said in the words of a great 
French Catholic writer, “Let us crucify ourselves upon our pens.” 
It ought to be the motto of every Catholic writer. If he does not 
crucify his love of fame and popularity and the approval of smart 
critics in the only cause that can really help mankind, he is 
making a mean and shabby use of his talents. The finished 
careers of Newman and G. K. Chesterton shine like sparks in 
what is becoming the jungle of literature. They had brilliant 
talents; but, if our equipment be only a sling and a few stones, 
let us go down hurling them at the powers of darkness. 

There is only one compensation in this world for the sense of 
failure in not knowing whether your stones hit or miss* you win 
the inestimable friendship of kindred souls. I have often been 
asked how I came to know Joyce Kilmer. It was shortly after I 
had left New York. Louis Wetmore, an enthusiastic young con- 
vert, was editor of the New York Times Review of Books. He 
asked me to write signed articles and reviews for him and I 
complied. I liked the contributions of a certain Joyce Kilmer 
who wrote like a Catholic but of whom I had never heard. In a 
letter to a friend in New York I made enquiries. My friend re- 
plied at once telling me that Kilmer was not a Catholic and 



enclosed a note from Kilmer thanking me for my good opinion 
of his work and asking if he might correspond with me. That 
was the beginning of a friendship which 1 look back upon with 
unalloyed affection and admiration. Joyce Kilmer owned un- 
common literary gifts, but his chief interest in them was their 
availability in something higher and more precious than litera- 

editor's note: Since 1931 Father Daly has been professor of English at the 
University of Detroit. His books include: St. John Berchmans, 1921, Kenedy; 
A Cheerful Ascetic, and Other Essays, 19S1, Bruce, Boscohel, and Other 
Rtmes, 1934, Bruce; The Road to Peace, 1936, Bruce: The Jesuit in Focus, 
1940, Bruce. 


IT HAPPENS that I am a priest {Deo gratias for that) and all my 
books have arisen out of pastoral work — they are all concerned, 
one way or another, with teaching the Faith. So I welcome 
frankly this opportunity of making them known; and if I add a 
spot of autobiography it is only a fair return to this book and its 
publishers for such a free advertisement. 

My first book (about the age of ten?) was written in a small 
note-book in pencilscript imitating print, and took the form of a 
Life of the Duke of Wellington, with numerous illustrations by 
the author. It was concerned entirely, I may say, with the Duke’s 
military exploits. Also it was written, as I suppose the greatest 
literature always is, for the author’s own satisfaction rather than 
for any public; and I have never risen to those heights since. 

It was at Oscott College (by that time a central seminary for 
clerics only) that I began to see things of mine in print, chiefly in 
college magazines: little articles on Shakespeare or philosophy, 
also short stories of an adolescent brand of humor. Once a Cath- 
olic weekly home-periodical gave me a prize of a guinea or so in 



a short-story competition; the story was about an imaginary priest 
in the September Massacres, and I was very particular even then 
about getting all the historical detail correct. The nom-de- 
plume 1 used was Kjartan, evidently because 1 had just been 
reading some Icelandic saga. In my last year or two at the Sem- 
inary, I was the editor of the college magazine. It was in those 
days a very staid and official production, though written entirely 
by students. One of my issues caused trouble owing to an article 
in praise of tobacco. A friend of mine, now Canon Harold Sug- 
den of Bath, had written it for a literary society, and we printed 
it for a joke, as there was a rule against smoking. The Rector 
did not see the joke. The magazine had already reached the 
students, but all copies destined to go by post were suppressed, 
and a new edition printed without the offending article. After 
that the magazine had to be censored beforehand by one of the 

One notable book 1 read while at Oscott was G. K. Chesterton’s 
Orthodoxy. Another was Fouard’s St. Peter. But it would take 
too long to explain why these two books had such a sudden and 
integrating effect on my mind. 

After being ordained in 1910, I was an assistant-priest at St. 
Peter’s, Leamington, a pleasant town, known to many Americans; 
but it had its slums too. My rector was Canon William Barry 
from whose conversation there was much to be learned about 
history and suchlike. I remember it was my job to run the parish 
monthly magazine there, and I tried to give it a local social- 
justice twist, for 1 had caught an interest in such matters from 
Monsignor Henry Parkinson at Oscott. With eagerness I used 
to read the weekly Eyewitness, founded by that towering genius 
Hilaire Belloc and continued later under other titles by the 
Chestertons. Another weekly paper I read was Orage’s New Age. 
Over and above the stimulus of their ideas, these papers proved 
by their very existence that small freeminded periodicals, with- 
out any money behind them and without advertisements, could 
still exist and have great influence, even though practically un- 
known to the public. 



At Leamington it was part of my duties to go into the schools 
(chiefly the girls and the “infants,” another priest looked after 
the boys). Amongst the Sisters in charge was Sister Cyril, who 
was a bit of a genius in her way (what fun if she reads this, in her 
retirement in the Mother House infirmaryl) and I got some in- 
sight into the possibilities in teaching and the rewarding com- 
panionship of children. Sister Cyril was good at getting up plays 
too. 1 spent a good deal of time preparing the little first-com- 
municants. Pius X’s decree was still recent, and we were realiz- 
ing how right he was, and how necessary it was to get down to 
their age-level, discarding the old parrot-catechism at least for 
this purpose. 

Well, the war came and in May 1915 I went to France with 
the soldiers and was with them four years. I found what I expect 
army chaplains find today — that most of the men had given up 
Mass and sacraments in peace time, but that Catholic men — if 
they had been at a Catholic school — ^had a real religion to come 
back to, not because of the Catechism they had learned like par- 
rots, but because they remembered how to go to confession and 

But their usual reason for giving up Mass and sacraments was 
that there had been too much compulsion about these at school. 

Obviously the psychological conclusion for the Catholic to 
draw was: teach children to understand these practical things of 
religion, and train them to do them of their own free will. In 
the last month of the war 1 lay in hospital with lots of time to 
ponder the above discoveries. I remember how a great packet of 
several weeks' mail arrived, including some issues of Orage's 
New Age, and it must have been then that I settled on the idea of 
starting a little monthly paper myself with the £100 or more I 
had saved of my army pay. In May 1919 I got away from the 
army, after several months' light duty at Aldershot, where I had 
time to write a lot of stuff for the new paper, the first number of 
which duly appeared in June. It was a monthly journal of Cath- 
olic education, called The Sower, and I am glad to recall that 
one of the articles in that first number was an account by Arch- 



bishop Keating of Liverpool (as he was later) on that true 
pioneer-soul of better religious instruction. Dr. Thomas Shields 
of the Catholic University of America. 

The commencement of The Sower was hampered by business 
arrangements which proved unsatisfactory. But we managed to 
survive that, and kept alive with a circulation which was small 
but of good quality and spread over the English-speaking world. 
I had some wonderful literary helpers, but they were all as un- 
known as myself, except Father Martindale, S.J., who contributed 
a little series on apologetics. After a year or so, Mr. James Brit- 
ten, the founder of the Catholic Truth Society, of which he was 
still Secretary, persuaded his Committee to reprint some of my 
Sower articles in a shilling booklet called Religion in School. 
(The work is now included in a larger volume called The Givers.) 
This, and his warm appreciation freely expressed, provided a 
recognition which put The Sower on a firm enough basis, though 
always living from hand to mouth financially. 

Getting out a monthly periodical, however small, proved to be 
rather burdensome (for after the war I had been put in charge of 
one of the Birmingham parishes), so after a few years we enlarged 
The Sower to a respectable size and made it a quarterly. From 
1926 it was edited by others until 1939, when 1 had to take it 
over again from Father S. J. Gosling who went to the army. So 
far it has managed to survive the vicissitudes of this war and it 
still appears regularly though reduced in size and price. 

Meanwhile, in 1922, as a result of The Sower's campaign for 
better methods of religious instruction, its editor had been made 
diocesan Inspector of Schools (something like Diocesan Superin- 
tendents in the United States, but concerned only with the re- 
ligious part of the school-work). “Get rid of that wretched 
parrot-system," said Archbishop McIntyre. So we made a new 
Scheme of Religious Instruction for the Birmingham diocese, 
introducing modifications as time went on due to experience, 
and soon we found that aid-books for teachers are just as neces- 
sary in religion (if it is to be taught intelligently) as in other sub- 
jects. So these aid-books have been appearing over the last 



twenty years, and there is now a complete range of them for 
elementary-school teachers in every grade. They are not ready- 
made lessons, but books of material where the teachers can al- 
ways lay hand on just what is wanted. The chief are Doctrine 
for the Juniors, which helps the teacher who may feel lost with- 
out a catechism in the younger classes, and for the teacher of 
older children. Teaching the Catechism, and Catechism Stories. 
I don’t believe much in pupil’s text-books, and have therefore 
never written any. The important thing is the living teacher, 
and that is where I have concentrated all the support I have been 
able to give. 

Such teachers’ aid-books in religion were not previously 
thought of in England, and even now there are scarcely any but 
these Sower books. 

Sometimes for The Sower I have written short one-act plays 
for children of various ages. Some of these were collected in a 
book called GabneVs Ave, and others exist only in the back 
numbers of the journal. These plays always arise from a germ- 
idea that comes vivid and suddenly. You make a rough note of 
it (if you are wise) and then it lies more or less forgotten in the 
mind maybe for years; then some day for some reason you take 
it up again, sketch out a sort of scenario including the general 
sense of the dialogue (this is the difficult and strenuous part); 
and then write the dialogue more or less fully, and finally a clean 
copy adding (the pleasantest part of the work!) the stage- 

I forget when it was that my first book of sermon-notes ap- 
peared. It was mostly notes dating from the Leamington days. 
1 thought priests might like them, just as teachers liked my teach- 
ing notes. The volume was published in modest anonymity, and 
it got sold somehow. But when the publisher wanted to reprint 
it, he was urgent to have a name on it because he said anonymous 
books were so handicapped. So the point was conceded, and 
since then there have been several of these sermon-books. One 
was called Two Hundred Evening Sermon-Notes; but when an 
edition was printed for the United States, they omitted the word 



Evening, because (they said) in America they never have sermons 
in the evening. They surely have their clergy well under controll 

The notes in these books were mostly rough notes, not full- 
dress prose, and priests tell me that such notes are helpful to set 
their minds working. But I*m afraid you cannot call them litera- 
ture. 1 think I caught the idea properly one day when I was 
leaning on a bookcase in Oscott library, looking through two 
volumes of similar notes by Father Faber; collected after his 
death, I fancy. Probably I ought to have been otherwise em- 
ployed (in fact the Rector came in and told me so); still I think 
one's most fruitful moments of study are often, so to speak, un- 
official. Father Faber was a real genius and a great religious poet, 
though he did not mind writing much second-rate stuff too. 
Where you get apparent incompatibles united in one mind (as for 
instance the Wordsworthian and Roman influences in Faber) the 
result is real originality of some kind. 

Another set of my books, addressed oddly enough to an entirely 
different public, is concerned with social justice and (as the nec- 
essary key to social justice) reform of the money-system. These 
began as newspaper articles in the early thirties, when there was 
a good deal of unemployment and needless poverty in Britain, 
and it seemed that somebody ought to be making a noise about 
it. Pius XI had recently written Quadragesimo Anno, but even 
Catholics seemed hardly aware of it. People like me said that a 
bad economical and financial system would explode into war; 
and so it has. There is nothing mysterious about the remedies; 
but most people in England were and are too tired to think. 
Probably after the war, America will have more say than England 
in such matters; but unless the right remedies are applied, there 
will be more depressions and more wars. Seven Addresses on 
Social Justice is the book that still sums up what I have to say on 
these topics. If only I could think it would be out-of-date after 
the warl 

No budding author, I hope, will let his manner of writing be 
much influenced by my journalistic style, which has been alto- 
gether too strident. Often it was necessary to shout in order to 



be heard. Some of the quieter bits may be not too bad. 1 should 
like to think that some of my little plays may be permanently 
useful; the writing of them was something that I enjoyed, some- 
thing that needed no excuse or justification, something that 
seemed worth while doing for its own sake, like saying Mass. 

EDITOR’S NOTE Father Dnnkwater’s books include Catechism Stories, 1939, 
Burns, Oates; Gabriel's Ave, 1936, Burns, Oates; The Givers, 1926, Benziger; 
Homily Notes on the Sunday Gospels, 1926, Burns, Oates, Money and Social 
Justice, 1934, Burns, Oates, Prayers Worth Learning by Heart, 1929, Sheed; 
Readings and Addresses for the Holy Hour, Bums, Oates; Rough Sermon 
Notes on the Sunday Gospels, 2d edition, 1935, Burns, Oates; Sermon Notes 
on the Sunday Propers, 1931, Herder; Teaching the Catechism, 1936, Burns, 
Oates; Two Hundred Evening Sermon Notes, 2d edition, 1934, Herder, Why 
Not End Poverty?, 1935, Burns, Oates; My Church Book, 1942, Bums, Oates. 



FATHER DUDLEY relates how, at Suva in the South Sea Islands, a 
native woman held up her little black picaninny to him and 
said, “Vat ees Owen Francis Dudley.” She had been reading one 
of his books previous to its birth and had decided to name it after 
the author. 

It was not until he was on his lecturing tour in various parts of 
the world, in 1938-1939, that he realised how widely his books 
were read, and that his audiences everywhere were largely due to 
the fact. During the public questioning following the lectures, 
his books were continually cropping up. On one occasion, in a 
college auditorium in the United States, one of the written ques- 
tions sent up to the platform ran: “Are you yourself the Master- 
ful Monk? Yes or No.” He found the questions in America ex- 
tremely candid, sometimes rather embarrassingly personal, but 
always revealing an intense interest in the moral, social and 
Catholic questions of the day on which he was speaking. He 
also found the university and college boys and girls the reverse 
of what he had expected, not hardboiled and sophisticated, but 



genuinely spontaneous. “I like you immensely/’ he exclaimed 
with equal spontaneity from the platform, on more than one 

Father Dudley was frequently amused at the publicity methods 
adopted by Americans. In one place where he was lecturing, he 
found himself dumped down at a table in the middle of a store’s 
department, which looked uncommonly like Women’s Wear, a 
stack of his own books around him, with people buying and 
presenting them to him for his autograph. A considerable por< 
tion of his tour everywhere was given up to autographing his 

If you were to ask Father Dudley why he became a writer, you 
would be informed, “I became a writer because I am a Catholic. 
There’s something to write about when you’re a Catholic.” He 
would tell you that whether he is writing a book, or an article for 
the Press, or a broadcast, he is writing as a Catholic and for the 
Faith, even if it be only to bring in the teachings of the Church 
indirectly. He doubts if he could write at all if he were not a 
Catholic. It might be imagined that this limits his field to nar- 
row margins. On the contrary, his pen travels over every field 
open to the human mind. There is nothing, he maintains, upon 
which the Faith cannot touch; in fact, only a Catholic can write 
in a catholic way, seeing things humano modo, through the all- 
seeing eye of God, by virtue of being in possession of the Truth. 

Father Dudley came to create his individual books as move- 
ments and tendencies of the day seemed to require them. Will 
Men be like Gods? was really an answer to the Positivist and Hu- 
manitarian vogue sponsored by H. G. Wells, and given a fresh 
impetus by the Great War of 1914-18, and attractively dished up 
with the splendours of a materialistic Utopia on earth. The au- 
thor set himself the task of proving by sheer reason that such an 
Utopia, even if achieved, could never carry with it the happiness 
for which men craved: “All the things of this world and all their 
vanishing glory could never satisfy one single human being;” hu- 
man happiness can never be attained in the Kingdom of Man. 
The human soul reaches out inevitably, of its own nature, to 
something beyond this world and beyond all that this world 


can give, to a final end which is not in this world, or of this 
world, and alone is attained in the Kingdom of God. 

The Shadow on the Earth is an examination of the problem 
of evil and suffering, also occasioned by the War and its hideous- 
ness. Its purpose is to reconcile the world as we find it with the 
eternal love of God Who created it. 

The Masterful Monk is an answer to the Rationalist attack on 
man’s moral nature, and was Father Dudley’s first novel in the 
strict sense. Father Anselm Thornton now emerges from the 
shadowy and symbolic figure of The Shadow on the Earth into 
the intensely vital person whose physical and intellectual vigor 
dominates the story and, incidentally, the sinister efforts of 
Julian Verrers the apostate. 

In Pageant of Life, which, by the way. Father Dudley prefers 
to all his other books, we meet that strangely pathetic but im- 
mensely lovable young man, Cyril Rodney, whose character and 
heroic ending has stirred the author’s readers so deeply. To the 
question continually asked of him as to whether Cyril Rodney 
was an actual person known to him personally. Father Dudley 
has never given a categorical yes or no: “I prefer to leave him 
veiled in mystery.” 

The Coming of the Monster is a dramatic exposure of Bol- 
shevism in all its forms and of everything for which it stands — 
the world’s revolt against God and Christianity. The field of its 
action extends from Moscow to Hollywood and London to Paris, 
the sweep of its drive and lurgency in sharp contrast with the 
localised action of The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk 
amidst the bays and cliffs of North Cornwall. This last novel is 
an intensive character study of two brothers and, incidentally, 
probes the problem of cruelty in human nature. Published dur- 
ing the second Great War, it strikes a singularly appropriate 

It may be of interest to Father Dudley’s American readers to 
learn that a considerable stock of his books perished in the great 
city fire during the Battle of London. They were all in print 
again, however, half a year later. He is now engaged on a new 



Father Dudley receives endless letters in connection with what 
he writes from every kind of person. Catholic and non-Catholic, 
from every portion of the globe* wherever his books run. He 
always answers these letters; for they concern human souls and 
problems of human life. Frequently his books are the occasions 
of conversions to the Faith. He would like to see a whole host 
of Catholic novelists writing for the Faith, and believes it would 
result in the conversion of thousands, provided that the Catholic 
novels in question were in every respect up to the best standards 
in modem novel writing. 

In regard to Catholic literature in general, and as at present 
being published. Father Dudley has formed a strong opinion: 
that Catholic writers are writing far too much and spoiling them- 
selves as writers in doing so. Almost inevitably, once a man ac- 
quires the “abominable habit” of producing a book or more a 
year, he is in danger of becoming shallow, losing his originality, 
and merely repeating himself or others. He considers that only 
in very exceptional cases can a book of outstanding merit, and 
worth reading, be published from one pen without an interstice 
of two years or so from the publication of its predecessor. An 
author who does not allow himself time to form new ideas, to 
acquire new material, to evolve new thinkage, to study further, 
to do fresh research, will merely dwindle off into banalities and 
truisms and lose his literary soul in the common rut. 

As regards Catholic novels in particular, it is his belief that, al- 
though a limited number may attain literary success, yet the 
majority fail owing to lack of vision and imagination, as well as 
from incompetence; also to the introduction of sloppy piety, 
which is fatal. 

He considers that a Catholic novelist, to appeal widely, must 
possess wide vision, knowledge, experience and intense feeling; 
he must envisage, in a big way, the big things of life and death; 
he must not be satisfied with a mere catechism knowledge of the 
Faith, imagining that sufficient. It is not sufficient. The Catho- 
lic novelist must be deeply grounded in philosophy and theology. 
All great writers have been deeply grounded in their own sub- 
ject, in their own line. Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson was the 



Catholic novelist par excellence with a sweeping vision and 
knowledge of life; everything he wrote issued from his own in- 
tense feeling; his philosophy and theology were not just some- 
thing he had learned. He made them his own; part of himself. 
Many priests of his day may have been more technically grounded 
in philosophy and theology* but few could use them and apply 
them practically as Benson could. It was in his application that 
he excelled* and succeeded where others failed, as well as in his 
immensely attractive presentation. 

Father Dudley believes that the failure of so many who have 
attempted Catholic novels* is the failure of those who lack equip- 
ment; that, for universal appeal* for powerful writing, philosophy 
and theology are the sine qua non. Without them the Catholic 
novelist is without confidence in what he is writing* and his 
whole novel will be coloured with that lack of confidence* and 
therefore essentially weak. 

Another source of weakness and failure has been lack of ex- 
perience of life. You can write effectively only out of your own 
experience of life; second-hand stuff never rings true. Catholic 
novelists* again, have lacked the human touch. The secret of 
Beau Geste, Wren’s novel and one of the greatest of the century* 
is the sublimely human touch; so also of Journey's End, Sheriff’s 
play. Father Dudley is doubtful whether the human touch can 
be acquired; if a Catholic novelist is without it* he will merely 
be stilted and prosaic — ^and a bore. 

Of Catholic literature in general* Father Dudley is insistent 
that there should be a “break-away” from the tame* ordinary kind 
of thing that has been written again and again* especially in re- 
gard to doctrinal books setting forth the Faith before the general 
public. There has been such an immense amount of repetition* 
and lack of originality in treatment. There have been outstand- 
ing works by American Catholic authors* such as Dr. Fulton 
Sheen’s* packed with original thinkage. American Catholic au- 
thors as well as English* who put out their own thinkage* like Dr. 
Sheen* will succeed in reaching a far wider Catholic and non- 
Catholic public than at present. 

Father Dudley is afraid that Catholicism has exerted only too 



little influence on literature in general of recent years, owing to 
the rarity of authors of real literary merit. There is also the fact 
that Catholics are up against a terrific combination of adverse 
forces in writing for the Faith: the World, the Flesh and the Devil, 
bigotry and hostility. There is also the fact that the Catholic 
public, in America, he believes, as well as in England, do not 
support Catholic authors to the extent they should. Some splen- 
did works by really first-class authors have been completely ig- 

There is a golden maxim advocated by Father Dudley for 
would-be Catholic authors: Write out of your own heart, out of 
your own imagination, out of yoiir own knowledge; out of a full 
heart, a vivid imagination, and a deep knowledge. 

editor’s note: Father Dudley, who was bom in 1882, served in the Anglican 
ministry from 1911 until he became a Catholic in 1915. Ordained at Rome 
in 1917, he began his priestly ministry as a Chaplain to the British Gunners 
on the Italian and French fronts in the first World War. After recovering 
from war wounds, he joined the Catholic Missionary Society in 1919 and has 
been Superior of the Society since 1933. In the second World War, the mis- 
sion house of the Society has been moved from Brondesbury Park, near 
London, to Northwood, in Middlesex. Father Dudley has lectured through- 
out England, Wales, Canada, the United States, and the Far East. His books, 
all published by Longmans, Green & Co., indude Will Men Be like Gods? 
(1924), The Shadow on the Earth (1926), The Masterful Monk (1929), Pageant 
of Life (1932), The Coming of the Monster (1936), The Tremaynes and the 
Masterful Monk (1941). 



MY ADVENT (the last of ten children) into this fallen world, (ac- 
cording to the baptismal record at St. Rose Church, Lima, Ohio), 
took place on the ninth of November in the year 1886. This, my 
coming, I have celebrated in a valentine poem entitled "To My 

My father, Edward Dunne, was a native of the town of Cahir, 
County Tipperary, Ireland, and came to New York with his 
mother and an elder brother, at the age of nineteen. It was dur- 
ing the Civil War that these three, under the direction of my 
father, trekked westward to the heart of the Black Swamp in 
northwestern Ohio. In the depths of this wild region one of the 
best young men who ever left Ireland met and married Mary 
Delphine O’Boyle, she who was to become one of the most ideal 
mothers that America has yet produced. I have attempted in my 
recent poem, “Emigration,” to give a romantic rendering to the 
little episode here referred to, which poem, by the way, is used to 
introduce my latest volume. Soon both parents became omniver- 
ous readers and, too, both (particularly my father) were very fond 



of poetry. In our home oral reading now became the order of the 
day — no radios, no movies, thank God — ^but evenings and Sunday 
afternoons made delightful by the sound of my mother’s alto 
voice reading to the assembled family the works of the O’Haras, 
Gerald Griffin, Father Tom Burke, O.P., Thomas Moore, John 
Boyle O’Reilly, Thomas Davis, John Mitchell, Carrolton, D’Arcy 
McGee; and such periodicals as the Boston Pilot and the New 
York Freeman* s Journal. 

In my cradle days mother accidentally discovered that reading 
aloud seemed to soothe her restless infant to the same degree as 
did the singing of lullabys. No doubt it was due to these soft 
repeated readings that I developed an ear for cadenced sentences 
and acquired a collegian’s vocabulary at a very tender age. 

Prescinding from an unfinished novel (now lost), there is still 
extant in an ancient autograph album a short poem from my 
mother’s pen, which I, in the summer of 1940, recast in sonnet 
form, using the first three words of the original as the title: 
‘‘When Children Pray.” 

I attended St. Rose Parish School from 1892 to 1904, when, due 
to my ability with pencil and brush, and at the suggestion of the 
late Msgr. Manning, my formal schooling was cut short for six 
hectic years in the engineemig field, as a mechanical and architec- 
tural draftsman; at which work 1 fitted like a whale in a kitchen 

I had early intended to make painting my life work, despite 
the fact that the thought of the priesthood had haunted me from 
childhood; and finally in the autumn of 1910, throwing my 
T-square and triangles to the four winds, I left my home town for 
the University of Dayton, then St. Mary’s Institute. 

I was wont in childhood to compose couplets which I recited in 
tragic manner to myself, and occasionally recited them with mis- 
givings to others. It was during the Spanish American War, as 
nearly as I can recall, that I ventured to set down in writing my 
verses. Again, in high school, I succeeded in receiving a modicum 
of praise for a pretentious bit of doggeral of some ten or twelve 
stanzas, enunciating the glories of my Easter vacation. However, 
it was under the tutelage of Dr. Francis J. O’Reilly, S.M., now at 



the Marianist College at Sioux Falls, Iowa, that my yen for the 
writing of poetry was revived. At Dayton, therefore, this budding 
poet contributed verse, short stories and essays to the school maga- 
zine, The Exponent, for which he was assistant editor, and was 
runner-up for the Chicago Alumni Diamond Medal for Poetry. 
Too, during these six years I won and held the mythical heavy- 
weight belt, boxing all comers so long as they were matriculated 

Having taken my B.A. degree in 1916, 1 attended Mt. St. Mary 
of the West Seminary in Cincinnati. June 10, 1922 I was or- 
dained priest at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Toledo, by Most 
Reverend Samuel A. Stritch. My spare time during these twelve 
years, 1910 to 1922, especially during the summer months, was 
spent in courting the elusive coquette “Poesy,” in reading the 
poets, studying their technique, and producing original sketches. 

After my ordination, poetry was forgotten for a time in the 
dizzy rush of parish work; and at the behest of Bishop Stritch in 
inaugurating an original system of instruction in the teaching of 
mechanical drawing at Central Catholic High School in Toledo. 

What with summer schooling, and the acquiring of a Master’s 
Degree, “Poesy” was left to her own devices. But with the course 
established to my liking and in full swing, the Muse again put in 
her appearance, and, losing my head entirely, I wrote feverishly, 
collected and revised my earlier work and in 1928 brought out a 
lean book entitled Poems, It was at this period that the hectic 
days began in earnest. Deep in the maelstrom, hard driven by the 
offices of Diocesan Civil Surveyor, Diocesan Historian, instructor 
in mechanical drawing, religion and public speaking, wrestling 
with upwards of two hundred fifty boys daily, battling with bad 
eyes and a constitution not too robust, I succeeded in 1930 in 
publishing my second volume, Diwan, and in 1935, my third, 
Songsmith; and in acquiring the honorary degree of Litt.D., a 
Eugene Field Bronze Medal for having made outstanding con- 
tribution to contemporary literature for the year 1936, and in be- 
ing made honorary corresponding member of the French Institute 
of Literature and Arts, a year later. During this period, I con- 


tributed prose and poetry from time to time to The Catholic 
World and other periodicals. 

And now in 1942, with the help of bad eyes and good friends, 
I have succeeded in the publication of my fourth volume of 
poems, which I have dedicated to Our Lady Queen of the Most 
Holy Rosary, and entitled, under her patronage, Gilmary. 

editor's note Fifty new poems, as well as those which first appeared in 
Poems, Dtwan, and Songsmtth (with revisions), are presented in Gilmary, 
which IS published by the Toledo Artcraft Co., 129 North Erie Street, Toledo, 

“when god closes a door He opens a window/' My door has 
been closed for six years, and my window open. I have been 
writing for publication only that length of time. During these 
years I have spent a great number of months in the hospital lying 
very still, for I have a broken and leaking heart. 

All my life my love for beauty was more or less satisfied by the 
pictures 1 made in pastel, watercolors and oil paints. Art be- 
came my profession along with my vocation to the order of 
Mother Seton Sisters of Charity at Seton Hill in Westmoreland 
County, Pennsylvania. My order trained me in art, sending me 
to the best schools. I studied under Charles W. Hawthorne at 
Provincetown, Cape Cod, and with Christian J. Walter at his out- 
door classes in Ligonier Valley. I received a Bachelor’s Degree 
in Fine Art from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and was 
elected to a membership in the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, 
and became an exhibitor. 

During all these student years I spent my summers teaching 
art. In 1930 I was sent forth as Art Supervisor in the parochial 



schools of two dioceses. My life work was settled. I was to be a 
teacher of art in the schools until the decrepitude of old age 
should halt me. Never would I paint the murals I had hoped to 
do or the canvases I had dreamed of in my youth; but doing the 
will of God was a better thing and I was happy. But my dreams 
still came to me and found some sort of expression in verses which 
I took to writing at night. This had been my custom more or less 
all my life. Usually I tore the verses up in the morning. A few 
I kept and revised. This writing was my safety valve, and I cared 
nothing about verse structure or forms. It wasn’t a serious ail- 
ment and I was always better in the morning after a siege of 
rhyme during the night. 

My first rather large attempt at writing was the outcome of a 
reform notion that took possession of me and worked itself out 
into a beautiful dramatic piece called “Pageant of the Saints.” 
The idea possessed me first in Sacred Heart Church, Pittsburgh. 
1 was art teacher in the High School there and made many a visit 
to that famous sanctuary. It gave me a perpetual emotion of 
medievalism. I seemed to live again in the ages when Kings and 
Queens were Saints, when Princes were Crusaders and Knights 
spent hours in vigil before the tabernacled Lord. It was drawing 
close to Halloween and I was in distress over the prospect of the 
usual goings on in the city of Pittsburgh. There would again be 
horrible, shrieking, demonic masquerade parades that seemed to 
convey a spirit of hell. Halloween meant Holy Evening, but the 
young people made worse than pandemonium of it. By way of 
contrast, I saw in my mind’s eye a gorgeous, colorful and digni- 
fied procession from one city church to another of Kings, Queens, 
Princes and Princesses, Knights, Monks, Nuns and Saints of all 
ranks, some even on horses and carrying banners, all singing 
praises to God. There is not space here to tell all I saw. 

I wrote my vision to Father Daniel Lord and he advised me to 
begin in a smaller way. I sighed and took my art class into my 
confidence. We were studying period costume. I let each pupil 
select a Saint and make a drawing in colors of how the Saint 
might have dressed. Each student wrote a history in the first per- 
son of the Saint. We used only female Saints, for my class was all 



girls. They were enthused and soon we had the entire student- 
body and faculty gazing at our painted Saints. 1 told my gorgeous 
dream to one of the Sisters and showed her Father Lord’s letter. 
Before 1 knew what 1 was getting into, I was bowled over into 
writing a pageant, and the play was on. The painted costumes 
became realities. The English teacher became my co-worker. 
Soon the entire school was interested and the Pageant of the 
Saints in an abridged form thrilled an audience. A letter from 
the art teacher of a prominent High School said when she left the 
hall it seemed like leaving heaven and stepping back again to 
dismal earth. I never have kept fan mail but sometimes 1 regret 
that 1 tore up all those beautiful letters. The Pageant has not yet 
come true as in my first dream of its magnificent completeness. 

A few years later, a teacher at the same school asked me to 
write a little play about Mother Seton. I said 1 would try. As 1 
went about supervising, I carried a small pad of paper and 
schemed the play. Like a snowball it grew, until finally 1 had to 
stay at my home convent with it. Each school had become in- 
terested and wanted to be in it. I called it “In God’s Design,’’ 
and when it was finally staged in Pittsburgh, February, 1935, all 
the schools of our order were represented. It was shown three 
times, and on children’s matinee day we gave the police of Pitts- 
burgh a burdensome traffic job. Only the schools of the Sisters 
of Charity were to have been given a free day, but the nuns of all 
the teaching orders, who had seen the play the previous Sunday, 
sent their pupils free also. I was blamed for the pandemonium 
that followed, for chartered cars came from all directions and 
emptied out squirming hordes of children. The children could 
not all get into the great hall; many had to go home again. I 
felt like the Pied Piper. “In God’s Design’’ will never be forgotten 
for more reasons than that it was a very impressive pageant. But 
I do not think that I am an author. Things like that just happen 
to me. Others take hold and make it a success. 

With that grand finale I went out. I managed to teach school 
art to a class of nuns the following summer vacation, but early in 
the fall the door of my activity closed. The doctor’s verdict was 
digitalis and an easy chair for the rest of my life. After half a 



year in the hospital, I returned to Seton Hill, to a pleasant room 
where I can see the foothills of Westmoreland County, especially 
the high hill just beyond which my great-grandfather lies buried 
in old Mount Carmel Cemetery. He was Patrick McDermott of 
County Fermanaugh, Ireland, and was bom the same year as 
Mother Seton, 1774. 

At first I missed the boys and girls who used to shout: “Oh, 
here comes the drawing Sister!” And then, clustering around 
me, would beg me: “S*ter, come to our room first.” Children 
love drawing. They love pictures. And now when I write I ad- 
dress my stories to the children for whom 1 used to draw. 

I still write verse at night. A short time before I became ill I 
had an opportunity to study versification. The ballad form 
suited me best: I could tell a story. I chose for my examination 
subject Father Will Whalen's book. The Golden Squaw, I re- 
ceived a Grade A from a very discriminating teacher; then I hand- 
lettered and illustrated the ballad and sent it to Father Whalen. 
In no time it was published and he began sending me reviews 
and I began to receive fan letters. I did not save any of them. 
Surely I was not an author! I wrote the ballad as a class exercise 
and gave it to my good friend to please him. 

In 1937 I came upon an old book. The Life of Prince Demetrius 
Gallitzin, by Sarah Brownson. It was out of print for twenty-five 
years. The Alleghenies were my native mountains and the Prince 
my special hero. I had often brooded over the fact that he was 
forgotten. My mother and I had lamented together over his 
dilapidated altar in his forsaken chapel after we had visited it in 
1920, before the Sisters of Mercy had repaired it. I questioned 
the young Sisters who attended my room on their knowledge of 
Father Gallitzin. Some had never heard of him. I begged the 
College English teacher to write his life over again, but she de- 
clared that her teaching allowed her no leisure for such an under- 
taking. “Why don't you write it yourself?” she said. “You are 
sitting here all day in contemplation.” 

So hesitatingly I took up my pen. But I must do it if Father 
Gallitzin's memory was to be revived and his example perpetu- 
ated. I started October, 1937, and by December 8 it was written 



to my imaginery audience of children. December, 1938, it was 
finished, illustrated and published, and in less than a year it was 
in its second printing. The publisher omitted from the title 
page: “For boys and girls.” 

While I was writing the last chapter, an old Sister of ninety- 
two brought me an ancient picture of the Prince and on the back 
was written that his death occurred May 6, 1840. Then I realized 
for the first time that I was bringing back his memory for the 
centenary of his death. I wrote to the Vice-Chancellor of the 
Diocese of Altoona and immediately preparation began for a cele- 
bration. A great Pageant was staged the following May to an 
audience of ten thousand people. 

God used me for an instrument and Father Gallitzin’s shrine is 
now rejuvenated in a wonderful way, far beyond my most extreme 
desires. Relics have been collected from far and wide. The 
chapel house has been made the headquarters for the Society for 
the Propagation of the Faith in the Diocese. The old cemetery 
has been restored. Pilgrims visit Father Gallitzin's tomb every 
day. My little book. The Prince Who Gave His Gold Away, is 
still in wide circulation. It has even traveled over to England 
and received favorable comments there. But does that make me 
an author? If I were told to write a book and a subject chosen 
for me, I would find myself helpless; because I do not write from 
the source of intellectual knowledge. Mine is meagre. I write 
from a full heart, and rather comically it is broken and leakingl 

Lately I decided to present my author-benefactor. Father 
Whalen, with a little manuscript, if he would accept it. And now 
Jesus the Divine Physician has just been published. I wrote it as 
though I were two people: one writing and the other illustrating. 

I do not think I shall ever be a real author. I feel it is too late 
for me to begin to study the art of literary expression. Besides I 
possess an uncanny secret which I shall now tell: my writings are 
heredity blossoming out in me. In an old carpet bag I found 
verses written by my great uncle, William B. Conway; and mine 
sound just like his. He was called The Iowa Minstrel, and was 
first Secretary of that Territory. I wrote to Iowa and through 
the Historical Society discovered that he was an artist and that 



he designed the seal of the Territory that is now used by the 
University of Iowa. He did other designing as well. He was the 
author of one book, now in the rare book collection of the Li- 
brary of Congress in Washington. It is titled The Cottage on the 
Cliff: A Tale of the American Revolution. I possess six or seven 
of his poems, among which is a very long one that should be re- 
printed in these times. It is called “The Bribed Legislator.’* 

My mother, Mr. Conway’s grand-niece, wrote poems to amuse 
her children. I treasure one written for me on my nineteenth 
year and my first birthday in the convent. Here it is: 

Time restores to earth each year 
All It took away. 

Snows depart and birds appear, 

Woods turn green from gray. 

Blossoms fill the orchard tree. 

Wintry skies grow blue. 

Everything comes back to me. 

But . . . not youl 

If by any chance I am an author it is not because I set out to 
be one, but because the door of active life closed and God sent 
the guardian angel of one of my ancestors to open a window. 

editor's note: Sister M. Fides Glass, of the Sisters of Charity, is the author 
of The Ballad of the Golden Squaw, 1930, Buechler Publishing Co., Belleville, 
111.; The Prince Who Gave Hts Gold Away, 1938, B. Herder Book Co., St. 
Louis; Jesus, the Divine Physician, 1942, Buechler. She was also scribe and 
illustrator for Happy Memories of a Sister of Charity the life-story of Sister 
Mary Xavier Farrell, 1941, Herder. 


THE LOVE OF WRITING when it first takes hold of a man’s heart, 
must be something akin to volunteering to enlist in your coun- 
try’s service, or taking up the subject of medicine just for the love 
of your fellow man. It is a good bit like being inoculated with a 
germ; something that will not be conquered; so when you find 
that Providence has blessed you with such, you foster it and 
cherish it as you do a great love. And if you will not let anything 
come between it and you, you will find that it fills your whole be- 
ing with a happiness that is something like the soft lights of sun- 
shine coming through beautiful stained glass windows in an old 
cathedral, like the feeling that permeates your soul when you 
stand on the deck of an ocean liner and watch the white capped 
waves roll up to the prow of the vessel, or the gorgeous sunset 
when the clouds, fleecy and white overhead, reflect the last linger- 
ing rays at the end of the day. 

My boyhood days were spent near the site of the first Catholic 
Mission among the Osages in Kansas while some of the original 
missionaries yet lived there. I served Mass for Father Pongiglione, 



little less known than the famous Father De Smet. I attended 
the school while there were yet olkge pupils present. 

1 was well along in years when 1 knew that my soul was longing 
for something to which it was attuned and which I had not yet 
realized. / 1 came to the Osage country in the very early eighties, 
a land far different from the one where I was bom, in 1876, back 
in Kentucky. This was a newly settled community. 

From the very first I sensed it that we were, all unknown to 
ourselves, making history, and that someday, if records were not 
kept, we would hand down legends to posterity that were woe- 
fully missing in the lore of those days. In early life, 1896, I en- 
tered into the newspaper world in the city that had succeeded 
the Mission, St. Paul, Kansas; and of all places where data and 
statistics should be kept, it is there. So in my own way I started 
what has developed into an almost priceless tabulated and chron- 
ological history of the days of the past. 1 say priceless because as 
the months and years roll around I am more and more often asked 
to locate records of the ancestors of people who once lived here 
and who left behind them, in the hearts of their children and 
grandchildren, stories of those bygone days. 

My first book Early Jesuits in Osage Mission (1916) was hardly 
intended to be a bona-fide book; I think it was my idea to secure 
information and statistics which 1 felt even in those times, should 
be saved for future information. 

Next came The Annals of Osage Mission (1935) which when 
put in book form received a regular Prodigal Son reception from 
folks who once lived here, or whose folks **before them” had at 
one time. 

My only efibrt at fiction was the Broken Treaty an historical 
novel of the Osage country which appeared serially in the Catho- 
lie Daily Tribune and other papers as well as in book form in 

1 think that the love of books is an almost consuming desire in 
some people’s hearts and so after writing two books so easily and 
finding great satisfaction in the — ^no I won’t say work — ^labor of 
love, 1 went on and in a few short years 1 had ten books to my 
credit and enough anecdotes, stories, data and facts that 



surmount fiction to write two or three more if I had the time. 

I have never put out a bool^for which I entertained any pros- 
pects of monetary reward. I have always written because I 
couldn’t help doing it; it has been and is yet the accolade of 
earthly happiness to be engaged in assembling data for another 
book. For a while I felt that travel, moving pictures and other 
attractions that so fully occupy people’s leisure time, books might 
be left out of the list of the greatest happinesses provided for our 
enjoyment. But as 1 see libraries growing in number and the in- 
creased number of folks, both young and old, spending more and 
more time in reading I am convinced that the love of it will never 

History held first place in my heart, even before I began to 
write and it is most logical that it would appeal to many because 
of its human side. To read of the early days, even in our own 
County and State, is like opening a door that leads to an avenue 
of Time and there see the passing show, the travel by ox teams 
with covered wagons, the fording of the streams, the resting at 
night beneath the stars, listening to the wild geese over the tree 
tops, all brings to our mind how the world has changed in just a 
few generations. Pope said: “The proper study of Mankind is 
Man’’ and he must have been imbued with that idea and it is 
one that has certainly never been disputed. 


THE QUESTIONS asked of me for this autobiographical chapter are 
so many, so varied and, it must be confessed, so personal, that 1 
decided at first not to answer them. It meant giving an aspect of 
my life as a student and teacher which seemed to belong to my- 
self alone. How did I begin writing, why I chose my particular 
field — that of American Catholic history — ^how my books came to 
be written, and what advice I could give to beginners in that 
held: these are the leading questions. In the past 1 have often 
replied to questionnaires for various “Who's Who” — ^always an 
embarrassing business. One does this once and for all, hoping 
that it will not be necessary again. Besides, these questions come 
at a bad time. The War dominates everything, and such per- 
sonal affairs seem very trivial in the midst of the horrible butch- 
eries that are being inflicted on the hapless peoples of Europe and 
the Far East. How small everything seems when for almost three 
years I have heard nothing from cherished friends in Belgium, 
France, Spain, England and Italy. With historical periodicals 
cut off from all these countries, especially from Germany and 



Austria, it seems that one epoch in scholarship is ended and with 
no prospect of renewing it. The details of one’s life have little 
attractiveness in the light of what is evolving in this mad world. 
But the old spirit 1 knew so well in my years as an assistant-priest 
in London — the spirit of “Carry On” — ^is still strong and proba- 
bly a faint limning of the past may be beneficial. I hope so. 

I began writing while a student in the Roman Catholic High 
School of Philadelphia, where I graduated in 1901. These articles 
were graciously revised by the editor, Mr. Francis P. Greene, of 
The Catholic Standard and Times, whose advice was invaluable 
to me. After entering St. Charles Seminary, Overbrook, Phila- 
delphia, he encouraged me, and my first serious contribution was 
“The History of Plain Chant.” Fiction attracted me for a while 
and I was elated when Father Daniel Hudson, C.S.C., then editor 
of The Ave Maria, accepted my first oflEering. I have still his 
many letters during my Seminary days, all filled with rare advice 
on composition and style. My great fortune was to come under 
the direction of the poet and stylist the present Msgr. Hugh T. 
Henry, of the Catholic University of America, and of that con- 
summate inspirer, the late Dr. Herman J. Heuser, both then on 
the Seminary faculty. Father Heuser had influenced me toward 
Scripture study and I spent two summer vacations in my home 
town, Chester, Pennsylvania, studying Hebrew and Syriac with 
the leading Jewish rabbi of the city. By an accident. Father 
Heuser decided that I should specialize in history. He asked me 
to put a batch of documentary material for a biography of a 
foundress of one of our religious orders in shape for his composi- 
tion after his return from Europe that summer. Instead, I wrote 
the biography. A translation which 1 made during another sum- 
mer vacation of a popular Church History from the German 
(Knopfier) caused Father Heuser to suggest that I be sent to the 
University of Louvain to study history. Here I began graduate 
studies in the autumn of 1907. Seven years later, I was graduated 
at Louvain — ^a long time, 1 admit; but the old University had 
great traditions, one of which was that there could be no haste in 
the preparation of the young scholar. The topic given me for my 



doctoral dissertation was The English Catholic Refugees on the 
Continent {1559-1795)9 which was published in London as the 
first World War was breaking out in 1914. The researches in- 
volved in this work took me to all the leading archives and li- 
braries of Europe, and it was the discovery of American boys and 
girls from Maryland and Pennsylvania in the English convents 
and colleges of the Continent which aroused my original interest 
in American Catholic history. 

Shortly after taking up my duties at the Catholic University in 
September, 1914, the late Bishop Maes of Covington, Kentucky, 
proposed to Bishop Shahan the founding of a quarterly for Ameri- 
can Catholic history. This was the origin of the Catholic His- 
torical Review, the first number of which appeared in April, 1915, 
and of which I became managing-editor. 

For the next eighteen years I enjoyed the incomparable direc- 
tion of Bishop Shahan through whose guidance all my historical 
work was carried on. An historian of the first rank. Bishop 
Shahan never failed me. Others, too, guided me in difficult parts 
of my work, chiefly my own archbishop, Denis Cardinal Dough- 
erty, the late Cardinal Gibbons, and the present Chancellor of 
the University, the Most Reverend Michael J. Curley, Archbishop 
of Baltimore and Washington. The gathering of documents here 
and abroad was a costly matter and 1 shall ever be grateful to the 
late Archbishop Messmer of Milwaukee and to His Excellency, 
Archbishop John J. Glennon of St. Louis who made these re- 
searches financially possible. In like manner 1 am indebted to 
Archbishop Spellman of New York and to Archbishop McNicho- 
las of Cincinnati. To Archbishop Hurley I owe a special word of 
thanks for his constant generosity, and for his wise guidance in 
interpreting documents on debatable subjects. All these docu- 
ments (mainly in photostatic copies), now housed in the Catholic 
University of America, have been in constant use by American 
writers and students, Catholic and non-Catholic. 

I could mention many others who have shown particular in- 
terest in my work at the University since 1914 — supporters of the 
Catholic Historical Review and members of the American Catho- 



lie Historical Association which was founded in 1919 for the 
purpose of creating a central organization for teachers and writ- 
ers in the field of ecclesiastical history. 

Among the happiest of my memories here at the University are 
my graduate students — ^priests, nuns, brothers and laity. The 
very nature of graduate study creates a circle as intimate as a 
family. The atmosphere of the classroom is quite different from 
that of the seminar, where all the students (usually not more than 
eight are accepted) take part in the researches of the group. 
Three, sometimes four, years of intensive study precede the doc- 
torate. Some thirty-five of these dissertations in the field of Amer- 
ican Catholic history have been printed by students from Maine 
to Texas and from Florida to Washington State. These works 
are based upon personal archival research here and abroad, and 
one day they will be the basis of another general history on the 
same level as Shea’s classic four volumes. The History of the Cath- 
olic Church in the United States, which was finished by the great 
pioneer in 1892. 

Apart from this University work there awaits the future Catho- 
lic American historian several thousands of letters which have 
come to me since 1914, from parochial school boys and girls to 
college and university teachers, asking information on a veritable 
host of Catholic historical matters, thus illustrating a quarter- 
century and more of historiography. The answering of all these 
letters has been one of the most pleasurable of duties. 

Of my own published works I prefer not to speak. The pur- 
pose back of them has been to re-write with much new archival 
material the history of our Church here from colonial times to 
the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1866, leaving to fu- 
ture writers the period from that date to our own. The Life and 
Times of John Carroll carried our history to 1815; The Church 
in Virginia covered the period 1815 to 1822. This was the worst 
stage of the trustee troubles, and Norfolk was in some respects 
more fraught with danger to Church unity than Philadelphia. 
The Life and Times of John England carried the narrative from 
1820 to 1842, and The Life of Archbishop John Hughes will 
cover the years 1842 to the end of the War between the States. 



The History of the Councils of Baltimore (1791-1884) is a chrono- 
logical treatment of canonical legislation in the American Church. 

Over fifty years ago, the scholarly pioneer in the field of our 
national Catholic history John Gilmary Shea, told us that only 
the surface of that field had been touched. Fifty years later, I 
can frankly echo his sentiment. Here is a future for the younger 
generation of Catholic writers. 

As I write this the press carries the news of the death of Thomas 
F. Meehan at the age of 88. May he rest in peace. No nobler 
example of devotion to Catholic American history could be given 
to our younger scholars today. 



To write about myself is for me a far more difficult task than 
to relate the life-story of someone else. However, I have con- 
sented to make an attempt, because I consider The Book of 
Catholic Authors a worth-while project and would like to con- 
tribute a little at least to its success. 

When a friend writes a letter to a friend, it is but natural that 
he will talk about his own affairs. To my mind, therefore, this 
sketch can best be offered in the form of a letter; at any rate, it 
will render my task simpler and easier. You will have to imagine, 
then, that this is a personal letter from me to you who are reading 
these pages. This device, perhaps will help to add the so-called 
personal touch, which is so highly prized by writers as well as 
readers; anyhow, it may impart something of interest to what 
might otherwise be merely the chronicling of dry autobiographi- 
cal facts. 

Even so, I am writing to an unknown friend; and I feel very 
much as I did when for the first time I gave a talk from a silent 



radio studio to an unseen audience. However, it is not a mere 
formality that 1 address you as a friend; the very fact that you 
are taking the trouble to learn something about me is proof 
enough that you are one of my unknown friends. 

Not long ago I was permitted to attend the golden sacerdotal 
jubilee celebration of Father Bernard Wewer, O.F.M., beloved 
pastor of St. Anthony's in St. Louis, Missouri, the parish where I 
was bom forty-one years ago and where I spent my boyhood days. 
On this occasion I met the good old Brother who was my teacher 
in seventh grade. Brother Charles of the Society of Mary. He is 
still doing the arduous work of a teacher in the South Side Catho- 
lic High School on South Grand Boulevard, which has an enroll- 
ment of some six hundred boys. Telling me that his boys found 
The Guide to Catholic Literature a very useful reference work, 
he remarked that they read with interest at least one of my books, 
the one entitled Maggie. That was encouraging news for a 
struggling author like myself; and it is an additional reason why 
1 gladly seize this opportunity of having an informal chat with 
my young friends. 

The principal field in which I have ventured to do some writ- 
ing for publication is that of Franciscan ideals, particularly as 
they are found in Franciscan history, Franciscan missions, and 
the Franciscan Third Order. How did I come to select this field 
for special study and writing? The very first reason lay in the 
fact that the good God arranged things so that I was born and 
raised in St. Anthony's Parish, St. Louis. It is a Franciscan par- 
ish; and people sometimes refer to St. Anthony's as the Monk's 
Church; though, of course, Franciscans are not monks but friars. 
(Those letters O.F.M., which they add to their name stand for 
Order of Friars Minor; and lest you become confused, I might 
add that there are two other groups of Franciscans, the Friars 
Minor Capuchin, O.F.M.Cap., and the Friars Minor Conventual, 

Anyhow, it was as a Mass-server at St. Anthony's that I learned 
to love and admire the life of the sons of St. Francis. Good, pious 
parents (may God bless and reward them — ^both are now about 
seventy-eight years old) fostered the attraction I had toward the 



Franciscan order and the priesthood; and four older brothers 
set me a splendid example by becoming Franciscans themselves. 
After completing the seventh grade at St. Anthony’s School (that 
was the year Brother Charles was my teacher), I left home for 
what appeared to be a big trip at that time and went to the Fran- 
ciscan preparatory seminary, St. Joseph College, at Teutopolis, 
Illinois, about a hundred miles from St. Louis. This institution 
I attended for six years (four years high school and two years 
junior college), and then entered the Franciscan novitiate, which 
is likewise at Teutopolis, June 21, 1920. 

Important work during my high school and junior college days 
for my later efforts at writing, though I was not aware of it at 
the time, consisted in the study of languages, not only English, 
but also Latin, Greek, German, and French. Later on, I also 
endeavored to acquire a reading knowledge of Spanish; and that 
is not so difficult for one who is familiar with Latin. Anyone who 
aspires to devote himself to historical research work, it appears 
to me, must learn several languages; otherwise, he is very greatly 
handicapped. In other work, too, a knowledge of several modern 
languages is an invaluable boon. There is much truth in the 
axiom: as many languages as you know, so many men you are. 

At college, however, I never dreamt of becoming anything like 
an “author.” In fact, I do not lay claim to that title even now, 
since I have done most of my writing during spare time. As a 
rule I have had not a little other work to do. Changing one's 
occupation is recreation; and thus even writing can serve as a 
hobby. Everyone should have some hobby; and something that 
is useful, surely, is better than something that is useless. That 
does not mean, of course, that I advocate writing as a hobby for 
everyone; and I would be very slow in branding any hobby as 
useless, since some that appear to be such serve a very good pur- 
pose indeed. 

What started me out as a writer was the Catholic Students’ 
Mission Crusade; and I gladly take this opportunity of expressing 
my indebtedness to that excellent organization. Study, work, 
and prayer on behalf of the missions benefits not only the mis- 
sions but reacts favorably in many ways also on the one who is 



interested in missionary activity and history. We were students 
of philosophy at the Franciscan Seminary of Our Lady of the 
Angels at West Park, now a part of Cleveland, Ohio, when the 
Catholic Students’ Mission Crusade held a convention at Notre 
Dame University. With another student friar, I was selected to 
represent our unit and to take care of a mission exhibit. Invests 
gations made in preparation for that convention and exhibit re- 
sulted eventually in my first published article of some length, 
'Tranciscan Missions in the United States.” It appeared in the 
monthly magazine, Franciscan Herald (Chicago), issues of March 
and April, 1924 — eighteen years ago. Since that time, the editors 
of some twenty-four periodicals have been kind enough to print 
more than two hundred articles of mine on Franciscan missions 
and other topics. 

My first pamphlet was an English adaptation of a devotional 
booklet which had appeared in French and German. It is en- 
titled The Seraphic Saint, and contains meditations and prayers 
for a “novena” of five Sundays in honor of the stigmata of St. 
Francis of Assisi. I was still a student of theology at St. Anthony’s 
Friary, St. Louis, when the late Bishop Sylvester Espelage, O.F.M., 
first Vicar Apostolic of Wuchang, paid us a visit. I offered him 
the manuscript, and he accepted it; regarding it as a fitting first 
fruit of his newly established (1928) Franciscan Press at Wuchang, 
Hupeh, China; for this Franciscan devotion had originated in 
the province of Hupeh. 

The principal pamphlets and little books which have appeared 
since 1928 are two on the Third Order; namely. Heart o* the Rule 
(1982, 1957 Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago), a 75-page explana- 
tion of the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis in the form of 
twelve instructions for Tertiary novices, and Catholic Leadership 
Toward Social Progress: the Third Order (Vol. XV of Franciscan 
Studies), a compendious essay of 65 pages. The latter is now out 
of print, but is still available in Vol. XVII of the Franciscan Edu- 
cational Conference Reports. It has been translated into French 
by Father William Lavall^e, O.F.M., of Canada, as Tiers-Ordre 
en Marche (187 pages. Librairie Saint-Fran^ois, Montreal). Be- 
sides these two works, there are four which have been published 



by St. Anthony Guild Press: (1) a 95-page book entitled Why Are 
You Fearful?, translated from the German of Father Athanasius 
Bierbaum, O.F.M.; (2) Man of Peace, a 35-page pamphlet on St. 
Francis of Assisi; (3) Contardo Fen ini, a 20-page pamphlet, pre- 
senting a sketch of a saintly modem professor and author who 
was a member of the Third Order; (4) St. Francis Solano, a pam- 
phlet telling the story of the well-known South American apostle 
to the Indians. 

My first book was published in 1930, three years after my ordi- 
nation to the priesthood; and it happened in this way. My first 
appointment, that of an instructor at Quincy College Academy, 
Quincy, Illinois, lasted but a year (192^1929). I was then sent 
to St. Augustine’s, Chicago, as assistant to Father James Meyer, 
O.F.M., editor of The Franciscan Herald and The Third Order 
Forum, and as director of St. Anthony’s Third Order Fraternity. 
That gave me an opportunity to devote more time to writing, to 
leam something about the Third Order, and to enjoy the guid- 
ance and coaching of Father James who had spent much of his 
life editing the manuscripts of others. To Father James I owe 
much of whatever success I had. And to the devotion to the 
Catholic Press of the good Tertiaries of whom I was director, 1 
owe the publication of my first and second books. 

The first. Pioneering in China, relates the story of Father 
Francis Xavier Engbring, O.F.M., the first American-born priest 
in China, 1857-1895. Archbishop Beckman of Dubuque, Execu- 
tive Chairman of the Catholic Students’ Mission Crusade, did me 
the great favor of writing a Foreword. 

Maggie, the second book, is also a biography, written however 
in story form with a great deal of dialogue. It is the life-story 
of an heroic Belgian girl, written originally in French by her 
brother. Father Martial Lekeux, O.F.M. The original French 
and a German version were best-sellers in Europe. All of my 
books appeared in small editions but Maggie. It was published 
serially in the Franciscan Herald (1930-1931), in book form in 
1931, reprinted in 1932 and again in 1937. 

After I had served for three years as Father James’ assistant, 
the depression hit The Franciscan Herald so hard that it was 



greatly reduced in size; and an associate editor was no longer 
necessary. But even calamities have their good points. This 
one at least afforded me an opportunity to delve deeper into 
Franciscan history and to attend Loyola University in Chicago 
for the year 1932-1933. The subject of my Master’s thesis was a 
prominent, though little known, Franciscan missionary of North 
America, Father Z^nobe Membr^, companion and chaplain of 
the famous French explorer LaSalle. Thus my third book came 
into being; for later I augmented and prepared this material for 
publications as Vol. XIII of Franciscan Studies (315 p.). Since 
Father Membr^ so much resembled the celebrated Jesuit mission- 
ary who accompanied Jolliet, I chose as title The Franciscan Pere 
Marquette. The book was published in 1934; and it was no 
doubt due principally to this work that the Conseil Historique 
et Heraldique de France awarded me an honorary corresponding 
membership in 1938. 

This work also introduced me to the Franciscan Educational 
Conference which proved to be another great help to me in my 
literary efforts. Several papers which I prepared for annual 
meetings of this Conference have been published in its Reports; 
and in 1935 I was elected one of the officers of the Conference as 
editor of Franciscan Studies. Up to 1941, Franciscan Studies con- 
sisted of a series of monographs published at irregular intervals; 
then we combined it with the annual Reports and made it a 
quarterly review of the sacred and secular sciences, appearing in 
March, June, September, and December, the last number being 
the annual report. 

A teacher or writer must remain a student during his whole 
life; he can never lay aside his books. After attending Loyola 
University, I taught for two years at the new Franciscan prepara- 
tory seminary, St. Joseph College, Westmont, Illinois, and was 
then permitted by my superiors to attend the Catholic University 
in Washington, D. C., for one year, and the University of Cali- 
fornia at Berkeley, for the next year, 1936-1937. During my 
sojourn in the West, I had the privilege of visiting the Franciscan 
missions in New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Mexico; and 
these trips were for me as much an education as the lectures at 



universities. In Mexico I had the good fortune of making copies 
of important historical documents pertaining to Franciscan 

These studies and journeys were of great help to me in a 
project on which I had been working for a number of years, a 
history of the Franciscan martyrs of North America. In 1936 I 
presented a paper on these martyrs at the annual meeting of the 
Franciscan Educational Conference, held at Santa Barbara Mis- 
sion, California; and this paper was reprinted as a pamphlet, 
published with the financial help of the Third Order Fraternity 
in Los Angeles. Later, the pamphlet was expanded into a book. 
Heroes of the Cross (1939), published by Fortuny’s in New York. 
Unfortunately the publishers proved to be a dishonest firm. 
However, we saved a considerable number of unbound copies of 
the book, and a new edition is in the hands of St. Anthony Guild 
Press. The publication of Heroes of the Cross in 1939 had one 
good result (another case of a misfortune which was not without 
its blessing): it proved of value to the committee of Bishop Gan- 
non of Erie, which gathered information on all the martyrs of 
the United States for the purpose of petitioning the Holy See 
to introduce a single cause of beatification and canonization of 
these heroes of the Cross. 

Returning from the West, I spent about five years at Quincy 
College as a teacher of history and as historian of the Franciscan 
Province of St. Louis, Missouri. In the latter capacity I also 
edited one volume, comprising eight numbers, of the Annals of 
this Province, a private publication. 

Early in July, 1942, I was appointed secretary to the new Dele- 
gate General of all Franciscans in the United States, Canada, 
Mexico^ Central America, and Cuba, the Very Reverend Mathias 
Faust, O.F.M., with headquarters at St. Francis Friary in New 
York City. Since the war made it impossible to communicate 
properly with the superior general in Rome, the delegate general 
takes his place for the duration. 

When I began writing this letter, I did not think it would be 
very long. I took it for granted that I was writing to an unknown 
friend. Now, after I have read it over, I am wondering whether 



you will still be a friend of mine by the time you read these final 
words. I am afraid 1 have tried your patience too much. If 
so, I beg your pardon. Whether or not you will count me among 
Catholic “authors,” I ask you to believe that I have made earnest 
efforts to produce some worth-while Catholic writings. May you 
never lose your interest in the Catholic Press; and may God bless 
you I In the words of Shakespeare, I wish you all that you can 
wish; and I beg to remain always 

Your sincere friend. 

Father Marion A. Habig, O.F.M. 



MY STRONGEST youthful aspiration was to see the world. The 
unknown behind the fabulous seven mountains and seven rivers 
disturbed my peace and filled my imagination. I wanted to be 
a great mariner and globe-trotter. 

My ambition was largely fulfilled. For several years, as a young 
man, I sailed the oceans, getting acquainted with the world. I 
purposely looked for chances to go farther and farther, and there 
was no adventure to which I would not readily subscribe. 

One of these adventures brought me to America. I decided to 
make her my home. My native Poland, so dear to my heart, was 
then a conquered country (alas, she is again the unhappy victim 
of invaders!) divided between three enemy powers, and there was 
too little freedom and too few opportunities to suit such restless 
spirits as mine. 

My first American job was a very poor one. It brought me 
only six dollars weekly for six ten-hour days of hard work. But 
it did not discourage me. On the contrary, I felt proud to be 
able to make a start from the very bottom, like many a great 
American had done. 



Soon 1 advanced in pay, in experience and in the knowledge of 
the English language. 1 became an editor of a Polish newspaper 
in Boston. It was then that I turned to writing poetry as my first 
literary venture. I published some of my verses in the Polish 
American press, and may say candidly that they were not alto- 
gether bad. Certainly my old professors of literature, had they 
had a chance to read them, would not have been embarrassed. 
I remember, they all liked me somehow, in contrast to my pro- 
fessors of mathematics, with whom I never seemed able to live in 
harmony. However, I was not destined to become a poet. 

As a rule, most of my spare periods were occupied either with 
writing or reading. I had and still have another hobby: walking. 
1 am already getting old, but still I walk regularly and for long 
distances. In my opinion, the automobile has deprived Ameri- 
cans of the pleasures of one of the grandest of all sports. 

Normally, my daily constitutional brings me my best moments 
of concentration upon the literary work that might be in the 
making. 1 mentally review the work done and lay my plans for 
chapters and pages which are to come. It is also my time for 
spiritual meditation. 

At one period, more than a score of years ago, I was especially 
interested in Adam Mickiewicz, the greatest Polish poet and one 
of the greatest poets of the world. I read each book on him which 
I chanced across. One of them was a diary of Anthony Odyniec, 
Mickiewicz’s colleague and a poet himself, who accompanied the 
author of Pan Tadeusz in his travels through Italy in 1830. The 
passages describing the meeting of Mickiewicz and James Fenni- 
more Cooper, their common walks through the old Roman ruins, 
were a revelation to me. At once I saw in the episode a chance 
for a new adventure, this time not into the physical world but 
into the dusk of the past. And what was more, a chance to de- 
vote my life to a useful purpose. I decided to dig up more details 
pertaining to the event, only passingly noticed in the biographies 
of both these great men. And so I started my first research work 
and found not only what I was looking for, but also many other 
little known historical facts. It would be a pity, I thought, to 
leave them in their obscurity when, if dug up, arranged in order 
and properly explained, they could not only enrich the history 



of two nations, America and Poland, but they could also become 
a new bond connecting them. 

Ever since, historical research on Polonica Americana has been 
the main purpose of my life. It has been a very fascinating work, 
one full of adventures. In my mind I often compare it with de- 
tective work. A slightest mention may become Ariadne’s thread 
in the labyrinth of the past and may put you on the trace of im- 
portant discoveries. True, sometimes the thread breaks, and in 
vain you spend hours upon hours perusing volume after volume 
without finding anything of value to you. Then suddenly you 
strike a rich mine and your patience and perseverance are re- 
warded a hundredfold. 

The history of the Polish economical emigration to the United 
States, dating back to about the end of the Civil War, was com- 
paratively well known. Therefore I concentrated my research 
work on its earlier phases, since the founding of Virginia. At 
first I published the results of my researches in Polish. Later, 
however, I have written mostly in English in order to make the 
material accessible to a larger number of readers. My first work 
in English was Poland and the American Revolutionary War, 
published in 1932 for the bicentennial of the birth of George 
Washington. Altogether I have published some twenty titles. 
My last laiger work, Polish Past in America, 1608-1865 (1939), 
is to some extent a synopsis of my earlier publications. At pres- 
ent I am working on a biography of General Thaddeus Kos- 

Usually I do my writing in the evening when all the duties of 
the day are done; and I believe in the old maxim: not a day 
without a line. 

I would be ungrateful not to mention here my basic workshop, 
the Newberry Library of Chicago, one of the best and most dig- 
nified institutions of its kind in the country. In point of use, 1 
am doubtless one of the oldest regular visitors to this library, and 
1 am very much attached to it. 

Besides my literary work, I was fortunate in being able to or- 
ganize a national Polish Museum as one of the branches of the 
activities of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, the oldest Ameri- 



can Polish organization still in existence. The purpose of the 
Museum is to collect and preserve all materials pertaining to 
Polish culture and to the history of Poles in this country. We 
started from scratch. But the enthusiasm of Polish Americans 
was so great that today the collections of the Museum are valued 
at $350,000 and they occupy two floors of the spacious P.R.C.U. 
Building in Chicago. One of the greatest treasures in the Mu- 
seum is the Paderewski Memorial Room, which contains the 
complete furnishings of his New York apartment where the great 
musician and statesman spent his last days and where he died. 
Among other relics here is his last piano and his famous concert 
chair which traveled with him all over the world for fifty years. 

I am curator of the Museum and editor of its Annals, a yearly 
publication, still very modest, but doing pioneering work in 
Polish American historiography. I sincerely invite the readers 
of this sketch to visit our Museum when they come to Chicago. 

All truly great men were deeply religious. Their lives have 
inspired my life, and 1 humbly try to imitate them in this regard. 
Among many other contributions, her living Faith is the greatest 
gift Poland can give to this my new country. I believe in the 
old maxim: ora et labora. And in work and in prayer I often 
repeat this excerpt from a poem by Adam Asnyk, one of the most 
exquisite poets of Poland: 

Seeketh the bright ray of truth; 

Seeketh new, undiscovered ways. 

With each step into the mysteries of being 
The human soul becomes greater, 

And greater becomes God. 

EDITOR’S note: For his pioneer contributions to the field of Polish American 
history, Mr. Haiman received the award Polonia Restituta from the Polish 
Government in 19S2 and the Silver Laurels from the Polish Academy of 
Literature in 1936. His books, published by the Polish Roman Catholic 
Union, 984 Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, include Poland and the American 
Revoluttonary War (1932), The Fall of Poland in Contemporary American 
Opinion fl935), Polish Past in America, 1608-1865 (1939), Polish Pioneers of 
California (1940). 


IT SEEMS TO HAVE been the habit of members of my family to re- 
lieve their feelings by writing. If they did not write books, they 
at least wrote to the newspapers — a very prevalent custom in 
England where I was bom. My father never let a day pass with- 
out writing something. He was a constant contributor to Will 
o' the Whisp, an old competitor of Punch, long since forgotten. 
My cousins on both sides of my father's family followed the way 
of their fathers — ^and sometimes their mothers. I discovered in 
the catalogue of the library of the British Museum that many 
pages were filled with the titles of books written by my various 
kinsmen. None of these became classics, although some of them 
had a useful career. 

The first thing that I wrote which evoked comment was an 
essay at school. We were asked to describe the changes of the 
four seasons. I was surprised myself at what I had written. As 
I remember, it was very sentimental and jingly. The teacher 
refused, at first, to regard it as original and ordered me to say 



where 1 found it. Having a fair reputation for truthfulness, 1 
was able to convince him that I was the author, and he caused 
me great embarrassment by pinning it on the notice board. 1 
was then thoroughly ashamed of it. 

It was quite normal, in our family, that my brother and 1 
should write, edit and issue a monthly sheet for private circula- 
tion. It had a scorching article on the villainy of corporal pun- 
ishment in schools. 

A few years later in adolescence I wrote a letter to my father 
commending one of his newspaper attacks on Mr. Gladstone. 1 
signed it with the name of a Member of Parliament whom he 
admired. He was so delighted with this letter, even after he dis- 
covered the trickery, that he forgave me at once. It was the only 
time that I ever did anything like that. 

My desire to write brought trouble upon my head at College. 
A humorous translation of a play of Aristophanes was taken as 
an attack upon a professor. I did not suppose that the editor of 
the College paper would publish it. There was a terrible row 
and I was ‘‘sent down.'* It was a painful experience, but I have 
reason to be thankful for it, because it ended my hopes of enter- 
ing the ministry of the Church of England in Canada where I 
was then studying. The penalty was afterwards remitted and 
my college standing was restored, but the Bishop refused to or- 
dain me. It was suggested that I should become a journalist and 
a position was offered me on a well known Canadian newspapier. 
I preferred to go to the United States where I found another 
Bishop who received me with open arms. 

It was not until I became a Catholic in 1908 that I became a 
regular writer, or perhaps I should say a journalist. For more 
than thirty years I have made contributions to magazines and 
newspapers. These were for the most part unsigned. 

My first book was written at the request of a dying friend. He 
wished me to tell the story of the conversion of a group of Episco- 
palian clergymen to the Catholic Church. Another book was 
really a collection of serial articles. I have thought of making 
other collections, but the subjects that are dealt with have, for 



the most part, ceased to be o£ public interest. I doubt if anyone 
would take the trouble to read these collections, and it is to be 
strongly suspected that few would buy them. 

I have tried my hand at novel writing in serial form. My 
stories have been well received, but they have not been published 
in book form. I am still engaged on a collection of memoirs 
dealing with countries that I have lived in or visited, and with 
people I have met. 

In addition, I have done a good deal of “ghost" writing for 
others and have furnished data for theses and lectures. The 
assurance that others have been helped is a consolation and a 
satisfaction, but I know that anything like fame is quite out of 
my reach. 

editor's note; Monsignor Hawks, who was elevated to the rank of Domestic 
Prelate in 1936, is pastor of St. Joan of Arc Church, Philadelphia. He is an 
Officier d'Academie Francaise, and his books include William McGarvey and 
the Open Pulpit, 1935, Dolphin Press; The Pedigree of Protestantism, 1936, 
Peter Reilly Co.; The History of the Parish of St, Joan of Arc, Harrowgate, 
Phtla., 1937, Peter Reilly Co 


BECAUSE I CAME into this world when my parents were away from 
home, I was born with the proverbial silver spoon in my mouth. 
To be born in Ireland of American parents whose home was in 
Chicago, gives me the rare glory of birth as a free American and 
as a child of that old land beyond the sea that has blessed the 
world with saints and scholars. My birthplace was not far from 
the Hayestown in Wexford that received its name from one of 
my ancestors, that Hayes from Hayes Farms in Kent (the birth- 
place of Sir Walter Raleigh) who came to Ireland with the Nor- 
mans who had conquered England, and so completely did Ire- 
land conquer him that in Irish history we find the name among 
those Norman settlers “who became more Irish than the Irish 

It was my good fortune to receive my grammar school and 
college education from the Sisters of Mercy and the Jesuits of 
Chicago. My ecclesiastical studies were made in St. Mary's Semi- 
nary, Baltimore, where I was ordained by Cardinal Gibbons for 
Dallas, Texas, whose Bishop was my former pastor in Chicago. 



At twenty-four 1 was rector of the Dallas pro-Gathedral and 
helped the Bishop to build the Cathedral of which I became the 
first rector. Bishop Dunne appointed me the first chancellor of 
the diocese. After the bishop’s death, I came to the Catholic 
University for special studies, but in a few months was called 
upon by Cardinal Gibbons to assist Dr. Shields, who was then 
building the Sisters College. At the request of Bishop Shahan, 
I taught English at the University and the Sisters College. A 
serious illness of long duration brought my academic labors at 
the University to an end. 

The administration of a parish, the building of a cathedral, 
its school and rectory, giving missions to non-Catholics, lecturing 
and preaching in all parts of Texas and beyond its borders, the 
gathering of money for the Sisters College, and teaching at the 
College and University were duties that left me little time for 
literary activities. I began writing verses at College, and con- 
tinued to write in moments of relaxation. It was Joyce Kilmer 
who urged me to publish. From many that I had written I made 
a selection of twenty-two that I liked best. The litde book was 
called The Grave of Dreams. It received from Joyce Kilmer a 
commendatory review in his column in the Literary Digest, 
June 23, 1917. 

During the decade after the appearance of my first book I wrote 
many verses and again made a selection which I submitted to 
Maurice Francis Egan. In his opinion they were worthy of pub- 
lication and he was good enough to send me a little verse which 
came to him after he had read what I had written: 

I do not hear the swelling organ’s roar. 

Or vibrate to the breakers on the beach. 

Or see an eag^e to the high douds soar. 

Or fed your singing voice beyond my reach: 

But this I know; you sing, and when you sing 
A Light I cannot name transfigures everything. 

Arrows of Desire was published in 1928. The title was borrowed 
from Blake, and has since been used by poets and novelists. 
Titles are not protected by our copyright laws. 

The Golden Jubilee of the Bon Secours Sisters in the United 



States was approaching. The Superior General asked me to 
write the history of the Ck>ngregation for American readers. 1 
gladly undertook the work as a slight tribute to the Sisters whose 
lives and labors I had admired during the year they had so suc- 
cessfully nursed me in their Baltimore hospital. The History of 
the Bon Secours Sisters in the United States appeared in 1931. 

My latest book is an anthology of verse. In Praise of Nuns, 
Although edited long after Kilmer and Egan had gone to their 
reward, it is to them that we must give the credit for its making. 
Not long before he went to the war Joyce Kilmer came to visit 
me at the University. He asked to see the Sisters College. In 
those days we had a few remarkable old nuns who were doing 
post-graduate work, and to them Kilmer gave most of his atten- 
tion. On our return to the University he told me that old nuns 
always appealed to him, for were not their lives filled with prayer 
and rich in labors for God and men. Before going to bed that 
night I wrote “Old Nuns,” which at once met with popular ap- 
proval. In an article in America (June 24, 1922), Dr. Egan used 
laudatory adjectives in reference to it and suggested that some 
one make an anthology of really good poems about nuns. Dr. 
Egan’s suggestion was often in my mind, but for many years 1 
had not the leisure or the strength to begin it. Three years ago 
leisure and strength were mine and In Praise of Nuns has taken 
its place as the first and only anthology in any language to sing 
the heroic lives and deeds of the holy women of our convents. 

I have been asked for any suggestions I may have for the aspir- 
ing Catholic writer. Suggestion and advice are closely akin; and 
while many ask for advice, it is the last thing in the world they 
want. They are looking for encouragement, consolation, or ap- 
proval. Again, advice is often given on the theory that we give 
away what we most need ourselves. It has been said that it is 
always dangerous to give advice and to give good advice is fatal. 
There is much truth in this exaggeration. With all this in mind, 
I am bold enough to make a few suggestions after the manner of 

Poetry is a mode of expression, and my first word to the young 
Catholic writer is to be sure that he has something to express. 



some thought so urgently clamoring for deliverance that he can- 
not resist until he has put it into words. Of course there must be 
originality either in the thought or in the manner in which it is 
expressed; and thought and words must be invested with that 
magical beauty which makes poetry different from prose. The 
expression of a poetic thought in poetic words is not always easy. 
The thought is God-given, but its expression is the work of the 
poet. There is a tendency today to escape from traditionalism, 
to cut adrift from romanticism, and the result is often the ob- 
scuring of thought in tortured phrases that use words that long 
ago have been decently interred. We may agree with Keats that 
“poetry should come as naturally as leaves to a tree,” and still 
feel the need of revising, pruning and adjusting. The four line 
verses of “In Memoriam” are easily read because over many of 
them Tennyson smoked an astonishing number of cigars. Be- 
fore he was twenty Bryant had written his “Thanatopsis,” but 
the form in which we have it is due to corrections he made over 
: and over again during the eighty odd years of his life. 

A reasonable dissatisfaction with our work is the first step to 
literary perfection, but discouragement is often the grave of our 
dreams and aspirations. When a busy editor returns the verse 
sent him with such high hopes, remember that an editor is not 
infallible. An essay of Francis Thompson's which the editor of 
the Dublin Review rejected, was years later under another editor 
published in the same Review and for the first time in its history 
the venerable Dublin Review went into a second printing. I 
have reference to Thompson's essay on Shelley, which many 
critics consider the greatest prose-poem in our language. 

I still have a word for the young Catholic writer of verse whose 
ambition is to become a poet. From the days of Chaucer, the 
father of English verse, to our own times verses without number 
have been written. But poems have been relatively few. In pre- 
paring the anthology In Praise of Nuns, I read in books and in 
magazines of verse many excellent, even superb verses, but no 
poem. As there is no universally accepted definition of what 
poetry is, I give this merely as my own opinion. I found no verse 



of recent years that gave me the thrill that still moves my inmost 
being when I read of Keat’s nightingale whose song 

Charm'd magic casements opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas in faery lands forlorn. 

Our young Catholic writers must not be discouraged when told 
that their work is not poetry but verse. If we open the books of 
many of the great poets we will discover for ourselves that even 
“the sons of light” wrote verse as well as great poetry. Until the 
technique is mastered, the verse may be poor; with practice it may 
become good, and then excellent. Poets are rare, like the plants 
that break into bloom once in a century. May we hope that from 
one of our present-day writers of excellent verse will come our 
first American Catholic poet! 

editor’s note* Father Hayes’ books include The Grave of Dreams, 1917, 
Encyclopedia Press, Arrows of Desire, 1928, Kenedy; The Bon Secours Sisters 
in the United States, 2nd edition, 1931, National Capitol Press; In Praise of 
Nuns, 1942, Dutton. 



A PEACEFUL EUROPE— peaceful politically. War seemed so far 
away from Central Europe whiA had enjoyed peaceful progress 
and growing prosperity for close to forty years. It was in the 
first decade of the twentieth century. But still there was a war 
raging — ^not with bloody arms — ^but a war of the pen. It was a 
literary war that raged for many years among Catholic writers. 
The question involved was, Should we have a Catholic literature? 
The greatest Catholic minds in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, 
and all other German-speaking countries took part in this battle 
of the written and spoken word, either for or against a distinct 
and characteristic Catholic literature. Battles were fought in 
newspapers and magazines, in public meetings and in private dis- 
putations, in universities and in the classrooms of small high 
schools. There was never a peace treaty nor any other kind of 
official conclusion of this literary war. But the battle had given 
impetus to an outspoken Catholic literature. It had created new 



Catholic writers in prose and drama which otherwise perhaps 
would never have found recognition. 

Also the younger students in those days found interest in this 
lively battle. Youth is always quick in decisions. Each one of 
us had decided either for or against the great issue, and we, too, 
fought our own battles in this literary war. 

It was during this first decade of the century that I had the 
pleasure of witnessing a German version of Calderon’s Mysteries 
of the Mass, by Richard von Kralik, one of the outstanding lead- 
ers for Catholic literature. I saw the production five times, and 
each time I discovered new ideas hidden between the lines of the 
rather short drama which lasted only a little over one hour and 
contained only seven or eight characters. 1 could not forget this 
play. The greatest drama of the world, the story of man’s re- 
demption, the very history of men from Adam to the last judg- 
ment, condensed in a short stage play. And still it had the ideas 
and potentialities of an immense and powerful production. Why 
did not the great Catholic dramatists of that time use this un- 
limited material to produce the one great Catholic drama that 
would have definitely proved the possibility and actuality of the 
Catholic drama and in general of Catholic literature? 

The quick enthusiasm of youth, inspired by the literary war, 
moved me to determine to prepare myself for the task of writing 
an elaborate drama of the Mass. Perhaps also the occasional 
remark of my teacher in literature that I had a “poetic vein’’ en- 
couraged my decision. Literature was my hobby. And since 
youth must have ideals and heroes, 1 found mine in the great men 
of Catholic literature. Even then I realized that my task would 
mean a work of a life time. But I was young and enthusiastic 
and nothing seemed impossible. I studied drama and the works 
of great writers. Then came the first World War. “Inter bella 
silent musae.’’ My studies were interrupted by military service. 
But even the war could not separate me entirely from my literary 
heroes. They accompanied me when bombs were exploding 
about me; they gave me relaxation in more quiet hours. Finally, 
in 1917, I was released from military service, and rushed back to 



my alma mater, the Catholic University of Freiburg, Switzerland. 
For three months I forgot my literary studies and prepared for the 

On July first I was ordained. “Introibo ad altare Dei,'* “to 
God Who gives joy to my youth.” The Mass-Drama. I under- 
stood it better now than ever. Back in Germany — ^now as as- 
sistant in a large parish in the mining Saar district. War, starva- 
tion, and a new battle — ^with growing Communism. Then the 
socialistic revolution. There was no time for writing drama. 
Drama, mostly in the form of tragedy, unfolded itself daily before 
my eyes. Death was common; life meant nothing but battle with- 
out end. Unchristian organizations and ideas were growing 
daily. Daily we fought the battle for Christ and His Church. 
We talked in meetings against thousands of socialists and com- 
munists. We thought nothing of risking our lives. This was 
not a literary war, but the war that Christ Himself had fought 
against His enemies. He had to give His life and the disciple 
was not more than the Master. The battle subsided during the 

America beckoned to me and I accepted the invitation. The 
lonely prairies of Minnesota gave me time to think and to study. 
A new youthful spirit entered my soul and with it youthful am- 
bitions. Again 1 stood at the altar of God: the same God, the 
same altar. But the people were different: they spoke a different 
language, they had different ideas. But still the drama of hu- 
man nature was the same, and still there was the drama of man’s 
redemption, the drama of the God-Man in the Holy Sacrifice of 
the Mass. I studied and began to write in a new language. A 
few little plays for children were the first results. Some new 
ideas, some translations or rather adaptations of plays that I had 
written as a student in Germany. To my surprise they found ap- 
plause. Priests and Sisters encouraged me in my work. The first 
ones were published in 1922. With more success than I had ever 
expected, they were staged in schools all over the country. I be- 
gan to think on what might have caused their success. It could 
not be the beauty of the language which was still quite strange to 



me. It must the ideas. A Catholic stage was practically un- 
known in those days. Finally, 1 decided to start a Catholic literary 
war of my own. It seems I was so used to fighting that it became 
my second nature. To start this war I wrote to all the larger 
Catholic organizations in the country asking them about the pos- 
sibility of creating a Catholic stage. I had started something. 
Letters poured in from all directions. Not one of them was en- 
couraging. Some ridiculed the idea of a “green horn.” A few 
admitted the need of Catholic plays, but hrankly stated that no 
one would stage them. My short experience, however, in this 
new field gave me encouragement. 1 continued to study and to 
write. If there was a need, it should also be possible. Years of 
hard work followed. First, short plays; then 1 attempted my first 
full-length three act play, Mary Magdalene. It was written in 
three evenings. I had learned that the short hours between my 
pastoral work during the day were not suitable for writing plays. 
1 used them for study, filling orders, writing short publicity notes, 
and thinking about the play I was writing. Characters had to 
be studied, dramatic situations developed, stage possibilities and 
arrangements to be considered. Many dramatic scenes occupied 
my mind while I was driving to and from the missions. In the 
evenings I sat down at my desk and concentrated. My thoughts 
of the day were sifted, cut or enlarged while I was writing. Some- 
times my mind seemed to be blank when I sat down to write, or 
it was so filled with ideas that it appeared to me like the chaos at 
the world’s beginning. But I started to write, and while writing 
thoughts came and order was created. I remembered an old 
French saying that one can become a blacksmith only by hammer- 
ing the hot iron. So one cannot become a writer unless he writes. 
I wrote until my eyes forced me to quit. 

This happened in the year 1927. In order to give my eyes a 
rest, I took my old Ford and traveled through six states, giving 
lectures on Catholic drama in summer schools of colleges and 
universities. I also called on bishops, priests, and sisters. The 
interest was aroused. I found cooperation where ever I called. 
When I reached Milwaukee, Archbishop Messmer asked me to 



move the office of the Catholic Dramatic Movement to this city. 
I was glad of the opportunity, and established the central office 
there. More publications followed. Other Catholic writers sent 
me their plays for publication. Our magazine. Practical Stage 
Work, and The Catholic Theatre Year Book came into being. 
New opportunities, or rather necessities, came to write with 
these new publications. New associations entered my life. Men 
and women, priests, sisters and lay people with interest in the 
Catholic stage cooperated with me. Possibilities of new develop- 
ments in this field were discussed, new plays were written, new 
stage arrangements were tested. Ideas were exchanged and mu- 
tually criticized. The Catholic stage had to comprise all kinds of 
plays, from the comedy to the Passion Play and finally to the 
Drama of the Mass. Would my dream come true? The great 
jubilee year of the Redemption approached, the year 1933. Could 
there be a better year for the drama of the Redemption! During 
the long winter months of 1932-33, I spent days and nights in 
study, writing and re-writing. Finally, the work of my life was 
lying on my desk. Would the world accept it? The first dramati- 
zation of the Mass in the English language. Or would the Catho- 
lic world be shocked by my audacity in dramatizing the most 
sacred of all dramas? My hands were trembling when I mailed 
the manuscript to the Archbishop and asked him for the Im- 
primatur. The shock came soon in the form of a short notice 
that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was too sacred to be shown on 
any stage. My life work had been refused by the ecclesiastical 
authority. After three weeks I gathered sufficient courage to send 
the manuscript back to the Archbishop with the humble request 
to read the play and to give me his advice on the matter. After 
a few days, the manuscript came back with the Imprimatur. And 
his Excellency wrote me a personal letter thanking me for having 
written the play and asking for a printed copy for his own library. 
The Mass Drama, The Sacred Mysteries, was so well received by 
critics that its first edition was exhausted in a few months, — a 
singular success for a stage play. Since that time other dramatiza- 
tions of the Mass, of a similar nature, have followed by other 



authors. A motion picture producer offered to film the play. I 
refused because I feared that it might not be done in the proper 
way. Nevertheless, the producer filmed it after some changes, 
though entire passages of the original play were reproduced in 
the motion picture. But the product was indeed a poor one, and 
as a Catholic writer I am glad that my name was not connected 
with the picture. 

My life work was completed. The fruits were good and bad. 
But still the writing continues. Theatre is life; and life is ever 
new. Theatre is art; and art is beauty. The highest beauty 
is God, the infinite beauty. The Catholic Theatre, therefore, 
also knows no limits. There are always new ideas, new applica- 
tions of the eternal truth and beauty to our earthly and eternal 

May I conclude with two short experiences pertaining to the 
question: should an author attend the premieres of his plays. 
Usually I do not. But I made an exception in the case of The 
Sacred Mysteries, because I wanted to study the reaction of the 
audience as well as the interpretation of the actors. The first 
production was given by a high school. I must confess that I was 
not exactly at ease when I entered the laige auditorium. Fortu- 
nately, I was not personally known in that city, and I preferred 
to remain unknown. My disappointment was so great that I was 
tempted to withdraw the play from publication. The interpreta- 
tion was a general misunderstanding of the play as a whole and 
the main characters in particular. Still the audience was im- 
pressed and repeated performances were given to about three 
thousand people. It was a mystery to me, and a great disappoint- 

A few weeks later I saw the play given by older and more ex- 
perienced players. I watched actors and audience very closely. 
The actors understood the play and the audience was impressed. 
The atmosphere of a church and divine service was felt. After 
the play, someone suggested to the pastor that as the next per- 
formance they should give a certain play of one of the best known 
American playwrights, and a goo^ ^ut he answered: 



“I would not think of spoiling the effect of The Sacred Mysteries 
by giving any modern play so soon.” 

A playwright who attends his own plays must be prepared for 
disappointments, because directors and actors do not always see 
the play as he sees it, and the interpretation may be entirely diflFer- 
ent from his own. 

editor’s note* Father Helfen, founder and national piesident of the Catholic 
Dramatic Movement, with headquarters at 325 East Kilbourn Ave , Milwau- 
kee, has written some two score one, two, and three act plays, most of them 
published by that organization. 


Educational Writer 

IN THE EVENING of a Comparatively long and busy life, during thirty 
years of which occasional writings appeared, it is not easy to state 
in a short chapter all the highlights of the past. The historical 
biographical data may be safely omitted, since they are to be 
found in the general reference works. It is rather the birth of an 
avocation and the occasions and needs that contributed to writing 
that might interest the reader more than anything else. To this, 
some informative items may be added. 

The subject of this sketch did not take up writing as a career, 
although when still young, he occasionally contributed news 
articles to foreign newspapers and wrote a weekly column on 
vocational guidance for a New York paper, a topic that was at the 
time almost completely unknown. But the real impetus to writ- 
ing came with the formation of the Catholic Boys Brigade, of 
which the present writer was one of the founders. It was in- 
tended to be a missionary agency to keep boys out of the courts 
and in touch with the parish and its clergy. A quarter of a cen- 
tury ago, there were no books that were completely acceptable to 



Catholic organizations using recreation for bringing about pri- 
marily religious results. Hence, manuals for boys, handbooks for 
ofl&cers, guides for operating units, chaplain’s guides, programs, 
and mass games had to be written and were continually reprinted. 
However, this long list of pamphlets and booklets, on account of 
their specialized character, remained practically unknown to the 
general public. To these the annual reports of about 32 pages 
each and a house organ published and written by the present 
writer for several years may be added. 

A wider circle of readers elicited the explanatory articles ap- 
pearing in practically all the more important magazines and jour- 
nals appearing in the United States. They occasioned not only a 
large international correspondence and numerous invitations to 
speak before educational assemblies, but also a rapid and un- 
precedented increase in branches and members of the Brigade. 
About 180,000 boys clamored for leaders that knew their business. 
At that time, the Knights of Columbus had established a chair of 
boyology at the University of Notre Dame in the planning of the 
curriculum of which the writer took an active part and also con- 
tributed a series of lectures in the second semester. But the de- 
pression after the first World War made the parishes unable to 
employ professional leadership, and there was seemingly nothing 
else to do but to train volunteer leaders from among the young 
men who had returned from military service. 

A beginning of a rudimental professional training for volunteer 
leaders was made in 1924 by organizing the first evening course 
in Catholic boy leadership at Saint Francis College, Brooklyn, 
N. Y. Several prominent educators and recreation leaders were 
invited to speak to 100 students present, and the material pre- 
sented during the course, prepared according to a plan outlined 
by the writer, was afterwards published in his book Boyguidance 
which appeared in 1925. These leadership courses on different 
phases of the work to be done were repeated periodically at the 
General Headquarters of the Brigade. The greatest number of 
lectures was given by the writer himself and these, as well as the 
discussions held, accumulated a great amount of useful knowl- 
edge that was published in the book Boy leaders* Primer, 1930. 



Most of the material contained therein had previously appeared 
in a long series of articles in the Acolyte, but some new matter was 
added. The definite introduction of a definite three period plan 
(recreation, formal exercises, and education), required explana- 
tions, guidance, and the statement of principles and their applica- 

The second phase of the writer’s activities was influenced by 
his appointment as local chairman of the Second National Third 
Order Congress held in New York, 1926, in commemoration of 
the seventh centennial of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi. A 
similar influence upon his writings was exercised by his election 
as representative of the Catholic Boys Brigade, other national 
organizations and the University of Notre Dame at the First 
Child Welfare Congress at Geneva and the Catholic Youth 
International Congress at Rome, both held in 1925. 

On the short trip abroad, the writer got in touch with promi- 
nent leaders of youth hailing from all parts of the world and 
the connections made at that time resulted in a large foreign 
correspondence until the beginning of the present war. He also 
had conferences with several outstanding leaders of the Third 
Order who were endeavoring to carry out the recommendations 
embodied in the very recent encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI, 
Rite expiatis. In this way much material was gathered that was 
quite unknown in our country. 

The first fruit of the observations made, was the publication 
of The New Life, a call to organize young tertiaries in the 
Seraphic Youth. It was written in a cabin of the old liner George 
Washington on her last trip home and was intended tor propa- 
ganda and for distribution at the Congress in New York. How- 
ever, before the Congress assembled the 20,000 copies printed 
were sold and a new edition of 10,000 copies containing the 
youth resolutions of the Congress was issued and soon dis- 
tributed. Utilizing the interest created, the writer introduced a 
special youth section in the Congress and the immediate result 
was that Junior Fraternities were established from coast to coast. 
This necessitated an adaptation of the rule to youth to be used 
as a handbook. Seraphic Youth Companion was intended to 



fill this demand. Another question arose about how to conduct 
junior £raternities, since it was obvious that more could be done 
for the members by adding some activities to the monthly re- 
ligious meetings that were in harmony with the spirit of the 
rule and of benefit and interest to youth. A plan for organizing 
and conducting youth fraternities was submitted in The Seraphic 
Youth, a book which found a hearty welcome. 

As far as adults were concerned and the public at large, the 
Congress needed a country wide publicity explaining the objec- 
tives, extension, mode of life and history of the Third Order. 
For this purpose a series of ten monthly articles were prepared 
for Franciscan and other Catholic magazines and for the press 
in general. They were extensively printed and some of them 
were taken over by the Associated Press in full. This series is 
found abbreviated in the Congress report entitled The Survey of 
a Decade, written by Father Maximus Poppy, O.F.M., and Paul 
Martin, pages 136-148. This extensive publicity, as well as the 
daily news published about the Congress by the great metro- 
politan papers and a series of articles published weekly in Our 
Sunday Visitor, aroused such an interest and so many requests 
for particular information, that the latter series had to be discon- 
tinued because the extraordinary large mail could not be 
handled by the means available. Something else had to be done. 
In order to keep up the interest aroused and to bring it to 
fruition, the writer wrote “The Seraphic Leaflet Series,” ten 
folders of about 1000 words each of which more than a quarter 
of a million copies were disposed of. 

The second fniit of this first European visit was a better 
understanding of the problems that confronted youth every- 
where in the post-war period, and of the means that might be 
helpful to the young in the problems confronting them. It was 
the general opinion prevalent, that youth could not be helped 
by temporal means alone but had to turn back to religion and 
morality if they were to be moulded into the perfect citizen. Re- 
ligion or spirituality was the postulate of the time. How to 
assist in procuring this, a long series on youth was written for the 
Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and which was afterwards re- 



vised and supplemented and published under the title of Youth 
Guidance, in 1941. The occasion that brought about writing 
regular contributions in this review for the clergy, was the ap- 
pearance of Watchful Elders, a short treatise on sex education. 
It proved to be quite a success, was frequently reprinted, and is 
still going strong after thirteen years. 

The encyclical and frequent pronouncements on Catholic 
Action aroused great interest in some quarters that was unfor- 
tunately based on misunderstanding of its exact meaning. It 
did not have for its purpose a Catholic activism, but an active 
Catholicism beyond a personal sphere. To bring some light to 
the subject, a Catholic Action Handbook, originally written by 
Reverend J. Will, S.J., in Switzerland, and which had received 
high praise from Pius XI himself, was adapted to American con- 
ditions and published under the same name, but joint author- 
ship. Since Civardi's Manual of Catholic Action, which had 
appeared at the same time, is out of print, it is now the only 
short authentic book on the subject available in English. 

Such a variety of activities coupled with the direction of the 
large boys* organization and added to the regular duties of a 
parish priest, preacher, catechist. Third Order director, all 
within the frame of Capuchin Franciscan discipline brought 
about a breakdown in health, which although partly recu- 
perated, never returned to what it was before. Fortunately, the 
number of priests had increased in the Province and all the work 
that could be performed by others was placed on younger and 
stronger shoulders. However, there remained enough to guard 
against idleness and its unhappy consequences. 

At this time (1936), the Boys* Brigade had gathered a spiritual 
bouquet made up of about 25 million prayers and good works, 
to implore the restoration of health to Pope Pius XI. An oppor- 
tunity to present the bouquet to the Pontiff personally offered 
itself by the charity of friends who were anxious to defray the 
expenses. The permission to accept the offer was graciously 
given by the Roman and provincial superiors who generously 
added a sabbatical year for further recuperation. This fact 
inaugurated the writer*s third and final phase of his career and 



influenced him to turn in an almost exclusively spiritual di 

When he arrived at Rome early in 1937, the Vatican had just 
announced that all audiences were suspended until after Easter. 
This delay gave the writer an opportunity to cross to the South- 
ern shore of the Mediterranean to visit Egypt, the Holy Land 
and Syria, returning by the way of Cyprus, Crete and Sicily. It 
was not merely a sight-seeing tour, but besides being a pilgrim- 
age, it was a trip to observe the life of peoples and the situations 
and trends it expressed. Some impressions of this and the fol- 
lowing trip through nearly all the countries now (1943) at war, 
with the exception of the northeastern lands, were indicated in 
a series of travel letters that appeared m The Cowl, a Capuchin 

My third audience with the Vicar of Christ was as inspiring 
as the former ones. Pius XI was very feeble, but still remem- 
bered the first private audience in 1925, and he ended with the 
instruction to bless all Brigade boys and their benefactors in 
his name. 

Omitting everything that has no special influence on my pub- 
lications, only a few of such incidents can be recalled here. 

The Spanish civil war being in progress, the whole of Europe 
was in great tension and fear. Meetings with influential per- 
sonages in diverse places disclosed the fact that there was con- 
siderable apprehension about what the near future would bring. 
The direction in which the political situation was turning was 
indicated in a series of articles that appeared in the Homiletu 
and Pastoral Review, under the title of “Clouds over the Earth,” 
by Viator. Although published before the storm broke loose 
in September, 1939, the predictions made, unfortunately, be- 
came facts. 

Another incident on the trip worth mentioning was a visit to 
the saintly Franciscan author. Father Athanasius Bierbaum, who 
had seemingly taken up his permanent residence in a hospital 
bed, from which he continued his missionary apostolate by writ- 
ing spiritual treatises. He could not speak much, but after a 
short discussion on the prevailing anti-Christian ideologies in- 



fluencing so many people, he said: “It seems that Catholics no 
longer realize what Christianity means. They do not consider, 
and thoughtlessly walk a middle way that does not exist.” For 
the purpose of leading people to think, he had just published 
a book containing short daily meditations for the laity, which, he 
thought might help many to go to God instead of turning away 
from Him or simply passing Him by. It was a good book, and 
the author’s request to make it available in English appealed to 
the present writer. The remodeling and adapting was begun 
immediately, and soon the book appeared in four volumes en- 
titled. Our Blessed Lady, Retreats, Christ: Victim and Victor, 
and Christ: Teacher and Healer, Unfortunately, most of the 
reviewers, although they wrote favorably, did not grasp the im- 
portance of Its objective. 

Having returned home at the end of 1937, the writer felt better 
and wrote down the impressions made upon him by the political 

But the regained health did not last long. Three months 
later, a cerebral hemorrhage struck the writer. It was repeated 
a year later. Both of them left him, although not completely 
helpless, yet very much paralyzed and enfeebled. However, the 
time in and between, mostly spent in the sickroom, afforded 
plenty of time for meditation. 

A plan was conceived to prepare for publication a series of 
sermons on the essence of the Third Order and its influence on 
the fruitfulness of the means of grace. The idea was carried out, 
and after the first installment had appeared, requests for trans- 
lation into five languages were received, and soon began to ap- 
pear in foreign magazines. This series was published in a book 
entitled The Better Life. Incidentally, the volume became an 
International Tertiary Book Selection, chosen by Franciscan 
editors in North, South and Central America, Europe and Asia. 

At the present time, the writer cannot do much more than give 
the finishing touches to a volume on the spiritual guidance of 
youth and a treatise on prayer. God granting the necessary time, 
strength and eye-sight, they may soon appear. 

Re-reading these lines, he finds that not one half of his pub- 



lications were mentioned, although some of them omitted at- 
tained a wide circulation. Nor did he touch upon more than a 
thousand reviews, half of which were never printed for lack of 
space in the submitting monthlies or weeklies. But may this 
suffice to give the reader some idea about the birth and growth 
of this writer's fruits of the pen. 

A word to other writers or aspirants to authorship may form 
the conclusion. The present writer had not much trouble to 
get his words in print; in fact, most of them were written on 
request. Material profits never were a special inducement to 
him. It is different with writers who adopt writing as a career 
or as a means of support; for them it may be up-hill work. How- 
ever, having the necessary background and talent and watching 
opportunities, they may make some contributions to literature 
and culture. Best sellers are in nearly all instances not written 
but made by means over which authors have as a rule no control. 
Educational writers, of course, will watch needs and if possible 
try to fill the demands. 

editor’s note: Father Hennrich was born in Holland in 1880, and was edu- 
cated there and in Germany and the United States. He was ordained in the 
Capuchin Franciscan Order in 1911. For his work in boyology he was made 
a Knight Commander of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, by Pope Pius XI 
in 1939. He is a member of the editorial board of the Catholic School 
Journal and of Franciscan Studies, 



“god and MARY TO YOu!“ Still say the gentle people of holy 
Ireland, in the soft Gaelic, if you meet them on the way. And 
if intelligence and mannerly courtesy is with you, you offer in 
turn the added blessing, from the heart, of the noble St. Patrick. 

God and the Lady Mary and Patrick, saint of my blood, in 
their own shamrock joining of the Trinity, are my own and 
single reason and being as a Catholic man writing of Catholic 
men and women. 

It is my pride to have the trinity of three things so closely 
allied that I may never think of them apart. And these are the 
three: that my blood is Irish, my spirit is American, my soul is 

And there is justness in my pride. As a Catholic born of a 
Catholic line, it means that never of my Irish blood, no matter 
how bitter and harsh the persecution, has ancestor of mine been 
false to God and to Lady Mary since first St. Patrick told the 
Irish nation of the Blessed Christ and His humble horning in a 
Bethlehem stable. 



As an American, my pride of Irish blood and Catholic soul 
rises high. For of my blood and soul has come the greatness of 
our nation. The too long-forgotten is coming to light, and in 
cold, studied intellectual research 1 find it so the Irish Catholic 
part in the growth of our country transcending that of all other 
racial and religious groups. Before they were, in peace and war, 
we were. 

And of my own, am I justly proud of being an American born 
and American bred. It is a pride of background: of grandfather 
who labored in Charleston Navy Yard to build ships for Father 
Abraham; of great-uncles Charles and Edward, who were instant 
in answering Mr. Lincoln’s call; of Uncle John, whose mother 
cradled him as his father worked for his country and who, in 
turn, in the War with Spam won the Congressional Medal of 
Honor as “the hero of the heroes of the cable-cutting at 

In a Catholic literary world where mtellectualism has brought 
so many converts to the Faith, men and women of writing talent, 
I more than ever glory in the Catholicism of my horning. 

I may not write of things philosophic or polemic. The deeper, 
more abstruse questions of the mind in its relation to the Church 
lie far beyond my ken. I admire so much and respect so greatly 
those, who, reaching the Church intellectually, use their gifts to 
spread intellectual appreciation of our holy Faith. The Holy 
Ghost is surely with them. 

And yet, coming lately into the Fold, I pity them; for they 
could not know the Mother Church that my ancestors’ fidelity 
to God and the Lady Mary gave to me. 

Ah, to be born a CatholicI To know with such great glee the 
Great Lord in the Christmas crib as a Baby like your own little 
sister; to think, as you grew, of your mother always in terms of 
His, and in the years of her silent holiness to know the con- 
tinuing kinship; to walk w'ith your grandmother over crunching 
snow to five o’clock Mass on Christmas morning, and have her 
point out to you the Star still shining; to kneel with Aunt Lena 
at Benediction with the smell of the incense adding to your holy 
childlike awe; to hear Aunt Ann’s voice rise in the choir-loft and 



know that its glory was yours in its praise of the Lord; to make 
little bob curtseys with Aunt Kate as she took you in her daily 
Lenten round of the Stations; to know quiet holy men and 
women, patient in the Lord, in all the years of your growth. 
Blessing of blessings, therefore, must you feel to be born a Cath- 
olic of a straight and true fifteen hundred year line. 

So as a writer, of whom might I write and whom should I 
extoll but the blood of my blood and the spirit of my soul. 
Through seven years of intensive newspaper training, and 
through college and university years of intellectual arrogance, the 
light shone forward to the day when writing need not be to 
other’s choice; but of my own wish and freedom. Among my 
own American Irish Catholic people I saw, with a shining 
brightness, greatness had been and greatness was. 

So my voice, however thin, rises in Catholic Letters to hail 
not only the builders of our Church in these United States, but 
those who have been as well the builders of our Nation. I chant 
the canticle of glory of the “five cent” people and the “ten cent” 
people. I raise my paeon of praise to those, who, through a 
hundred continuing years or more, have built single parish 
churches into cathedrals of great archdioceses. I sing their effort 
in the American way, and the truth of that way in their children. 

Talk or writing of a modern Catholic renascence in letters 
bores me. For myself, I go back as a writer, through my always- 
reading mother to Grandfather Doran — whose charming fault 
was, that sent out for groceries he might come back with books — 
to the American Catholic literary greatness of Mary Anne 
Madden Sadlier, of Anna Hanson Dorsey, of “Paul Peppergrass,” 
of Fairbanks, and Father Abram Ryan, of John Boyle O’Reilly, 
of “Christian Reid,” of Father Finn, of Maurice Francis Egan 
Mine is the glorious Catholic American line, known so early by 
the small boy who up attic devoured old bound copies of Ave 
Maria and as early learned that intellectual and literary Cathol- 
icism had waxed mighty in America from the very first landing 
of the Irish schoolmaster or student, from the nation’s birth, 

So I sing of the parish, of our American ways in our Catholic 



Irish tradition. I sing with as equal joy and as like reverence 
of the Catholic Germans and Poles, French Canadians, Italians, 
Portuguese, Croats, whom you will, who have brought their 
Faith like banners shining and planted it anew upon our 
country’s seaboards and inland prairies. 

I raise my American Te Deum for the glory of the humble, 
who in their Catholicism have made our nation strong and 
united. I speak for those who are shy of speaking for them- 
selves. With whatever gifts God has given me I trust I shall 
always speak for the builders alike of our Church and our 
Country . . . the humble men and women of God. 

Yet, deeply as I feel all this, I have been most fortunate in 
having Mrs. Patrick Crowley speak much of it for me. She, in 
her age, knows much more about it than I, and was ever one to 
speak her mind more forcibly. She has in strength what I have in 
weakness, love of God and country. 

And just who is Mrs. Patrick Crowley? That, indeed, is the 
question asked me most where ever I talk or lecture. I may only 
answer, helplessly, “We-ell . . . she . . . is . . . Mrs. Patrick 
Crowley.” And that is little help at all. 

But Father Francis X. Talbot, S.J., distinguished editor of 
America, but more important than that, “parish priest of Ameri- 
can Catholic letters,” saw her even more clearly than I, in his 
lovely Preface to one of my books. He saw his mother, and my 
mother and yours. And that is just who she is ... at heart and 
in soul. 

Actually. Mrs. Patrick Crowley, like Topsy, just grew. I be- 
lieve I did mention her in Monsignor, but as a completely lay 
figure. Then Father Talbot, assuming the editorship of Amer- 
ica, asked if 1 might not bring lightness and somewhat of humor 
to his pages in the manner of New Yorker articles of mine. I 
began by poking gentle fun at parish foibles generally . . . and 
then suddenly 1 looked up, and so did Father, and there was 
Mrs. Patrick Crowley standing over us laying down her law. 

And then when I had the thought of writing a Catholic novel 
that would not only not be pietistic but light and gay and roman- 
tic, Herself: Mrs. Patrick Crowley very simply ordered it from the 



beginning. It was she who took an old lady’s feminine delight 
in pooh-poohing the laws of coincidence and tieing up every- 
thing together in rosy wrappings at the end like one of her own 
Christmas packages. 

The Old Parish stories in many instances have basis in fact, an 
anecdote or a story of an actual happening. Never precisely as 
written, of course, but with no deviation from probability. And 
because I write of real people, highly composite as they may be, 
so Constance Casey in the inevitableness of time became a 
Carmelite nun. For not of the old of the Parish is personal 
sanctity alone true. Mrs. Crowley and Constance may not have 
always seen eye to eye in things external. But I saw them both 
as they truly saw each other, — alike in their membership in the 
Mystical Body of Christ. 

One by one, I suppose, the older members of the Parish will 
drop away, but the Old Parish will go on. There will not be a 
Mrs. Patrick Crowley under her own name; but she will have 
her successors, in the good women who in the world will labor 
parochially for God and His Church. And so of the men of the 
Holy Name Society and the St. Vincent de Paul. They may 
change in degree but never in kind. 

If the Old Parish were not truly Catholic, I should be a re- 
gional writer only, since I have painted the background of my 
scene the New England I know. But the great university of our 
holy Faith finds like old parishes spread across the country. And 
there are many, many stories to be told of such parishes and the 
growth of the Catholic Faith; by others far more gifted than I, 
would be my wish. For I myself want to read them. 

Forty-niners and fifty-niners, too, went forth from my Old 
Parish, and while some returned to regale us with their tales, the 
greater part of them remained to make their contribution to the 
building of the West. In Chicago and Denver and Butte and 
San Francisco are novels yearning to be written, of those pioneer 
men and women who, in the last half of the last century and thus 
far into this, have helped as few others have helpeci to make 
America reach her destiny. 

In Chicago especially have I gloried in old tales. There most 



especially have I seen (ah poor Browningl) Mrs. Crowley plain. 
Then she was a bishop’s niece, with old stories of the Fire. It is 
characteristic that her own called her Queen. The West’s asleep. 
May the West awake. The true story of Catholicism in the 
building of the nation awaits the western writer, from Chicago 
to San Francisco. 

Why may we not appreciate what Willa Cather does so well. 
The history of our American times and our Catholic Faith may 
yet make some budding writer great. Not in superficial moder- 
nity but in historical appreciation of our past will come our writ- 
ing claim to greatness. 

editor's note* Mr. Hurley was born in Jail River, Mass , in 1906, and was 
educated at Providence College and Brown University He has had experi- 
ence in both the newspaper and the radio fields His books, published by 
Longmans, are Monstgnor (1936), The Old Parish (1938), Herself, Mrs, 
Patrick Crowley (1939), Says Mrs Crowley, Says She (1941) The first and 
third titles were selections of the Catholic Book Club 


MY FATHER, besides being an able statesman and diplomat, was 
a man of great culture and wide experience. He often used to 
say that a writer who is sincerely devoted to his calling will 
continually feel the urge to write, while the amateur will exercise 
his gifts off and on, and does not feel this urge. Even a child 
will manifest its vocation. 

Insofar as these observations are true, I am certainly a 
writer; for I remember scribbling as soon as I could read and 
write. It seemed to me, as I grew up, that to write books and 
poetry must be the greatest happiness a human being can ex- 
perience. The day when, in 1918, I published my first article in 
a Paris review was indeed a very happy one. 

And yet I could not contemplate for a long time the possibility 
of a purely literary career. The Russian Revolution broke out 
when I was scarcely more than twenty. My father resigned his 
post of Russian Ambassador in Paris. From 1914 to 1917 I 
nursed in a Red Cross hospital in France. Then I had to look 
for a job. In 1919 my father died, and life became even more 



difficult. And thus it came about that instead of only writing 
books, I held all kinds of jobs: secretary, typist, translator, 
teacher, reporter, columnist. Since I came to America, I worked 
for a time as a waitress. But all this did not interfere with my 
writing. Even in the most difficult circumstances I have been 
able to do a great deal of literary work. I still love my profession 
more than anything else. 

I think that this love is a great stimulant in life. It should be 
encouraged in all beginners, every opportunity should be given 
them, so that they should be able to improve their gifts and 
receive a professional and cultural training. They should learn 
above all that a creative gift is truly a gift of God and should be 
duly cherished. 

Being a Russian by birth (although I lived most of my life 
outside Russia, because of my father’s diplomatic career), I was 
an Orthodox till the age of twenty-five. Then I joined the 
Catholic Church in circumstances which I relate in my book. 
Light Before Dusk. A few years later in Paris I met the Catholic 
philosopher and Christian humanist Jacques Maritam, and I 
had the privilege of working with him and his group till the 
French collapse. 

It was after this, and thanks to him, that I really discovered 
my vocation as a social and religious writer. Since then I have 
devoted all my spare time to the study of theology, social prob- 
lems, the works of the great Catholic mystics, etc. I also re- 
mained in close contact with my Russian friends, realizing that 
an understanding between Catholics and Orthodox is essential 
to the reunion of the churches, of which I became an ardent 

Much of my study has been also devoted to the Russian prob- 
lem, to conditions in Soviet Russia, and to the Russian people. 
I have always been convinced, and still am convinced, that in 
spite of communist rule, which has never curbed the spirit of the 
people, the Russian soul is alive and profoundly dynamic. I 
have carefully collected testimonies pointing to the survival of 
religion in Russia and to my people's stubborn resistance to 
atheist and materialist doctrine. I have described this process of 



national and religious survival in my book Soviet Man Now, 
published in 1936. 

Today Russia's heroic struggle against Hitler proves that my 
estimations were correct, and that in spite of Communism, my 
country is capable of great things. Pope Pius XI wrote in his 
famous encyclical on Atheistic Communism: "We do not want 
to condemn in any way the entire masses of the Soviet Union to 
whom we bear a paternal affection . . . What we condemn is 
the system, its instigators and the men responsible for it.” I have 
deeply cherished these words, and they will always guide me in 
my work for Russia. 

Social and religious writings . . . Christian Reunion . . . 
Russia. It may seem to the reader of these lines that 1 undertook 
too heavy a task and was somewhat presumptuous in thinking 
that 1 shall ever be able to fulfill it. But I must add that none 
of these branches were actually chosen by me. They just hap- 
pened to come my way. Throughout my career I have indeed 
rarely been allowed to make a choice. I think that this is char- 
acteristic of my entire life. Not that I am passive by nature. On 
the contrary, I consider myself a rather wilful and tempera- 
mental person. But somehow I rarely achieved the things which 
I desired, and was often obliged to meet emergencies which I 
least expected. I have long since learned to accept this as the 
will of God He is just using me where He thinks best and in 
the way He thinks best. 

We Catholics are all called to an apostolate. But my aposto- 
late was never mapped out for me. it was just thrust upon me. 
Thus It was, for instance, that through Jacques Maritain, I met 
a number of the representatives of the French Catholic social 
movements, and started working with them. This work went 
on for ten years, and I have related most of it in Light Before 

At the same time 1 collaborated with a group of Russian friends 
in similar activities dealing with Russian social and religious 
problems. It was during that period that I met the Russian re- 
ligious thinker Nicholas Berdiaeff whom, with M. Maritain, I 
am proud to be able to call my friend and teacher. I shall always 



recall those years as the happiest in my life, for I was constantly 
in touch with the finest, most noble and generous minds of the 
French and Russian intellectual world. 

When as a child, I wished to become a writer, I certainly did 
not dream that I was going to be a Catholic writer. Being a 
Catholic writer is something more than a career, and something 
above literature. It is a vocation and, as 1 have said, an aposto- 
late. It is also a school of humility. For all of us who call our- 
selves Catholic writers know that we have a Master whom we 
shall never be able to rival, a Teacher whom we shall never be 
able to surpass. This should save us from literary pride, from 
vanity. And it should constantly remind us that we are but 
tools in the hands of Him from whom flows all creative spirit. 

To return to myself, I must add that I left France in May, 
1941, eleven months after the collapse. Thanks to my friends 
in America, I was able to come to the United States and to re- 
sume my work. A few months after my arrival, I started writing 
Light Before Dusk for Longmans Green, where I found warm 
welcome and encouragement. And thus once more I have been 
permitted providentially to continue my literary career and to 
serve once more the cause of Christian humanism. 

editor's note: Miss Iswolsky, who now resides in Valley Cottage, New York, 
IS engaged m writing and lecturing. Her writings include Blind Kings (in 
collaboration with Joseph Kessel), Life of Michael Bakunun; Soviet Women 
(1923, 1927, Paris), The Diplomatic Correspondence of Alexander Iswolsky, 
Soviet Man Now (Sheed), Light Before Dusk (1942, Longmans), The Soul 
of Russia Today (1942, Christian Culture Press), a reprint of her lecture 
delivered before the Assumption College Lecture League, Windsor. 

IF I HAD NOT already emptied my memory chest in an autobiog- 
raphy published several years ago it would be easier to write a 
two thousand word life story now, as I am asked to do. Then 
I had space for a hundred thousand words, and used it all with 
an author’s fine abandon and inevitable sense of injury over a 
lack of mental elbow room. For when an author begins to 
reminisce about work the reminiscences have a tendency to run 
on indefinitely. 

Let me check this at once by confessing that my childhood was 
uneventful and that I was much more ordinary than my fond 
parents thought me. I proved this when I graduated at seven- 
teen at the great Convent of Notre Dame in Milwaukee, then 
and now the Motherhouse of its Order in these United States. 
I had shown my normality by falling in love with the Convent, 
the life there, and the really wonderful woman who was then 
and for many years afterwards the head of the Notre Dame Order 
in America — Mother General Mary Caroline, whose beautiful 
body and soul have long been at peace. 



She was interested in me because I had studied the piano 
almost from my infancy, and in addition to my academic course 
was preparing to be a concert-pianist. This was my mother’s 
plan for me. My own plan was to become a nun — one of Mother 
Mary Caroline’s great and devoted band. Mother Caroline’s 
idea was that this might be a very good plan and that, as a 
Religieuse, I would eventually succeed Sister Cecilia, the head 
of the Convent’s great music department and by far the best 
musician and teacher of the piano I have ever known. I studied 
with her for many years. I could never have filled her place; 
but it is flattering to remember that Mother Mary Caroline had 
hoped 1 could. 

Mother General, however, true to the great principles of her 
Order, had no idea of admitting me to that Order without my 
parents’ consent; and this my mother, who was not a Catholic, 
would never have willingly given. She proved this as soon as 
the question came up. 

As a compromise, after my graduation, my father persuaded 
her to let me have a little newspaper fling in New York. I had 
loved books from the time I could read — ^an accomplishment 
I learned at five years old from our cook, who like myself had 
literary aspirations. We both desired to write stories! I put in 
many hours of my infancy in our kitchen, to the surprise of the 
other members of the family. They decided, however, that they 
were protecting my little brain by slow development in a safe 
environment. They did not know about the ambitions of Nora, 
our cook, who saw no reasons why she and I should not enter 
the daisied field of literature together. We did this for several 
years, and I strengthened the growing bond between us by bring- 
ing to the kitchen, from our well-stocked library in the heart of 
the house, all the books Nora and I desired to read together. 

They were numerous and some of them were startling. My 
father, who had been a classical student in his youth, had selected 
his library very carefully. A younger brother of my mother, who 
happened to be a professor at Cornell University at the time, was 
also a book-lover. He bought countless books but had no place 
to store them. He ended by sending several thousand volumes 



to our home in Milwaukee, for safe keeping by my mother, his 
favorite sister, till he had a home of his own. They became a 
part of our library, as he did not marry till long after I had left 
home and had begun what I like to call my “career.” 

My professional experience began soon after my graduation. 
I went to New York to see the town and I got a job there by the 
simple process of walking into the New York World building, 
a low very shabby structure on Nassau Street, and asking the 
editor-in-chief for one. He was Colonel John A. Cockrill, and 
he gave me the job within half an hour — ^solely, I have long 
realized, because of my exuberant youth and boundless audacity. 
I had taken with me no letter of introduction. 

From the first I worked from twelve to eighteen hours a day. 
I must have done fairly well for I held that job ten years, one 
year as reporter, six years more as editor of various departments, 
and the final three years as assistant Sunday Editor of the World, 
associated with Arthur Brisbane, who was then Sunday Editor. 

Early in my New York experience, which originally was sup- 
posed to last only a year or two, the great business crash of the 
end of the century struck my home town, Milwaukee. Every 
bank in the city failed, but one. My father, who was at that 
time a wealthy real estate man, buying and developing property 
all over the city, went down in the crash with most of Milwau- 
kee’s other business men. He paid all his debts following the 
crash and prepared to begin life over. The Evening Wisconsin 
had a fine editorial about that. But father’s health had also 
crashed under the strain. He lived, as an incurable invalid, ten 
years longer. My job had become a necessity. From that time 
till my parents’ death — ^my mother lived to be eighty-eight — I 
had the privilege and happiness of supporting them. 

My ten years on The New York World were the most interest- 
ing and educational of my life. Eventually I had an under- 
standing with the owner — ^Joseph Pulitzer — ^and his editors that 
I must not be too firmly tied down to editorial work alone. All 
articles in a newspaper except editorials are called “stories” by 
the staff. My ambition was to write real stories — fiction. Big 
newspaper stories were good training. 1 was in a position to be 



independent. Whenever a really big “story” came along— es- 
pecially a famous murder — I cheerfully accepted an assignment 
to cover it. Among these assignments were the two most famous 
murders of the day — the Carlyle Harris case and the Lizzie 
Borden case. The powers above me on The World were always 
glad to have me shake off the responsibilities of my editorial 
desk and write big “stories” on such cases. 

Among others I wrote the original news story that started the 
famous Carlyle Harris murder trial. At dinner together one 
night the district attorney of New York had turned over all the 
rough material of the case of his close friend, Ballard Smith, then 
our managing editor. Mr. Smith strolled into my office at ten 
o’clock that night and dumped on my desk what seemed like a 
barrelful of notes, with orders to have the “story” finished before 
The World went to press at about two o’clock in the morning. 
I sorted and read these notes and wrote the “story” of several 
columns, with a copy boy standing at my elbow toward the end 
and racing to the composing room with the pages as fast as I 
wrote them. The next morning that story was a “beat” on the 
whole town and country, which means that no other newspaper 
in New York or elsewhere had any mention of the case. But for 
this, of course, I deserved no credit. All the facts had been 
gathered and given The World by the District Attorney. 

I was writing some fiction by that time, in the free hours I had 
in a working day often eighteen hours long. I had acquired a 
fairly good style and a lot of experience. I wrote more and more 
fiction for the magazines and began to think seriously about 
resigning from The World and giving all my time to creative 

The World editors, who were all extremely kind to me, did 
not approve of that idea. Neither did Mr. Pulitzer. But while 
I was seriously considering it. Colonel George Harvey, who had 
been briefly but brilliantly a managing editor of The New York 
World, became President of Harper and Brothers. One of his 
first official acts was to give me the editorship of Harper*s Bazaar. 
That seemed a big step forward and right along the literary lines 
I was working toward. My resignation from The World dis- 



turbed the friendship between Colonel Harvey and Mr. Pulitzer, 
who did not like to have members of his staff lured away. Both 
men eventually decided to forgive and forget their quarrel, and 
Mr. Pulitzer finally extended his forgiveness to me. Many years 
later I was a sincere mourner at his funeral. 

I had been with The World ten years. My thirteen years with 
Harper and Brothers were very different but equally interesting 
and educational. 1 met the leading authors of America and was 
given the friendship of many of them — notably William Dean 
Howells, Henry James, Mary E. Wilkins, Margaret Deland, and 
Frances Hodgson Burnett, to mention only a few. Henry Mills 
Alden, then the great editor of Harper^s Magazine, was wonder- 
ful to me. He not only encouraged my writing but published it, 
as most other leading magazine editors were doing by that time. 
Among other things he published in Harper^s Magazine two 
complete series of my May Iverson stories, of which the third 
and final series appeared in Good Housekeeping, — at a much 
higher pricel 

At Harpers, of course, I had my evenings free. There was no 
night work to be done, as there was on The World. But the 
habit of industry had been well established. 1 had already 
written the first of my thirty novels, which was accepted and 
published by Scribners while I was still with The World. After 
that I continued to write a novel a year. They are cheerful and 
virtuous tales with no best sellers among them except a sporadic 
example or two. They have been, however, widely published 
throughout the world — ^most of them in England simultaneously 
with their American publication, others (translations) in various 
parts of Europe and South America. For some reason, which I 
have never understood, a number of them translated into Scan- 
dinavian languages and published in Scandinavian countries, 
have had some really big sales. So has my autobiography. Three 
Rousing Cheers (the cheers being for others, not for mel). After 
three years of existence the autobiography is still selling strongly 
enough to be coming out in a new edition as I write these lines. 

Incidentally, I have had an extremely happy life. I have been 
able to support myself and my dependents in comfort from the 



beginning of my work. With a friend I adopted (when she was 
eighteen months old) and brought up a little French girl and 
sent her through Smith college. I have crossed the Atlantic 
ocean thirty-eight times, and traveled much on three continents. 
I was able to be of a little use to my country during the first 
World War. I am necessarily confining my aid to this war to 
such checks as 1 can afford to send out in response to hundreds 
of appeals. 

I have had the normal share of humiliations and disappoint- 
ments and I have had two big failures. The first was in the 
moving picture business, and it was complete. One of the 
largest studios in the moving picture game offered me twenty-five 
thousand dollars a year to act as its editorial director. I resigned 
from Harpers to accept the job (I like that homely wordi). But 
not even ten strenuous years on the greatest newspaper in New 
York, nor thirteen subsequent years with the greatest publishing 
house in the country, had prepared me for the mysterious 
goings-on in the picture studios of two decades ago. I resigned 
within a year and from then on have given all my time to my 

The second failure was less disastrous and much less complete. 
The only play I ever wrote. The Lady From Oklahoma, opened 
brilliantly in Chicago and Baltimore and was triumphantly 
brought to New York by William A. Brady and the Shuberts. 
My misguided friends made the first night in New York such a 
gay and brilliant affair that they fooled even the critics, several 
of whom gave the play fine reviews the next morning. But after 
a few weeks the play languished and died. 

The explanation given for the failure, by Alan Dale, the lead- 
ing critic of that day, who had predicted a long life for the play, 
was that I had made fun of women, and that they couldn't “take 
it." I made fun of them, and many women had enjoyed it. One 
scene hadn't an actor in it. I had shown my characters in a 
beauty parlor, and I had revealed all the mysteries of that en- 
vironment. I subsequently made that act into a one-act play. 
It ran in vaudeville for sixty weeks on what was called the Grand 


Circuit. That paid me fairly well for the work 1 had put on the 
play as a whole. 

Like my father I have been a Catholic all my life — ^not an 
ornament to the Faith, but an ardent member and supporter of 
it. I have had countless blessings — ^work, friends, family life and 
continued health, for which 1 humbly thank God. The greatest 
of my blessings is work, which 1 have always loved and invariably 
found more interesting than anything else life has offered me. 
I have always been and, please God, will continue to be an 
optimist and a believer in life, the world, and my fellow men 
and women. 

My message to the young, from whom I have received and 
am still receiving thousands of letters asking for advice, can be 
given in four words. Work, Love, and Pray. There is nothing 
new in the slogan, but only a fool should fail to follow it. It 
contains the whole creed of any worth-while human existence. 

editor's note: Miss Jordan, who is now dramatic critic of America, received 
the honarary degree of LittJ). from Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, in 
1932. Among her later books are her autobiography. Three Rousing Cheers, 
1938, Appleton; and the novels After the Verdict (1939), First Port of Call 
(1940), Faraway Island (1941), Young John Takes Over (1942). 

DEAR MR. romig: Here is a try at answering your flattering in- 

On the writing side, my long life — I am just over seventy — 
might be divided into these two parts: when I wanted to write 
but did not and when I had to write and did. It now seems to 
me that I always wanted to write; which proved clearly enough 
for me at least that some day I should write. The years of 
wanting were years of pleasant apprenticeship, because every 
now and then I set myself to try. 

In St. Dunstan’s College I had founded a little student paper 
but my office was only that of business manager. Nevertheless 
the professor-editor gave me one chance, which I took by con- 
tributing an allegory in imitation of Addison’s Vision of Merza. 
No one seemed to get anything out of it but myself but I had 
confirmation of the faith that some day I should write. 

In the Seminary at Nicolet I played at writing for recreation 
and the not-too-noble objective of making a few dollars for 
trifles such as “smokes.” My French-Canadian fellow semi- 



narians used to tell me stories and legends of Old Quebec. I 
jotted some of them down and sold them to a sympathetic news- 
paperman at the rate of one dollar a column. When my friends 
ran out of legends I used the atmosphere of the genuine as back- 
ground for inventions. The play and the pay were agreeable 
and the practice helpful; also it was in accord with the tradition 
of my old college, which had been the Alma Mater of the writ- 
ing Archbishop of Halifax, Dr. O’Brien, of James Jeffrey Roche, 
poet and co-editor of the old Boston Pilot with John Boyle 
O’Reilly, and of Henry O’Meara, long dead and gone editor of 
a Boston daily. Their names had inspirational value for their 
successors at the battered desks of St. Dunstan’s. 

Happily too — at least for me — the College Library was small 
but good. Its smallness kept trash out of my hands; its goodness 
forced me to ask help from real stylists. I read the British 
Essayists and profited and enjoyed. Then, the old college afore- 
said was in my day blessed with one specimen of the kind of 
English teacher I needed. He gave himself some extra trouble 
for me. That is how it came about that later I could earn a 
dollar a column when, at my age, I shouldn’t have been worth a 
cent a page. 

When ordained and put to work as a pastor I had to forget 
about writing to give full attention to necessary church building 
in three missions, but the writing disease insisted now and then 
on breaking out. For a few months I had a small parish paper 
which forced me to learn a little something about editorial writ- 
ing. I could afford to buy only a few books, but the few I did 
manage to buy helped. I put together a small collection of the 
French pulpit orators and thus got to know the best France had 
in literature along the line that interested me, for I was trying 
my voice as well as my pen. But all the while I was afflicted 
with the building business. Check writing was not in the line 
aforementioned. What time I gave to other scribbling had to 
be squeezed in between pressing pastoral duties. I never really 
had time to play the artist; so my product was always much in 
the rough; a fact that kept distressing me more and more as I 
went along. My greatest joy would have been to achieve free- 



dom from other cares so as to give all my attention to Catholic 
literature; but not for that had I been ordained. Had I been 
so favored it is probable enough that 1 should never have become 
an even half-acceptable author. If doing a writing job is like 
carving a statue then I was only artist enough to give mine its 
outline; certainly not to give it life. The big chisel I got to 
use fairly well but the fine little one that opens eyes and with a 
tender touch makes the marble laugh or weep, I never had time 
to use Even later my writing was often done in an office, on 
trains, and later still, on ocean liners. Artistry keeps aloof 
under such conditions. 

Pardon if 1 step back a few paces. 1 missed something: the 
story of an incident which pulled me out of the condition of 
wanting to write and placed me in the condition of being 
obliged to write. It happened in 1907, when, to help my church 
building jobs and make a living, I was imposing on Lyceum 
audiences as a lecturer — fifty dollars or mostly less an impose. 

You remember the scene in Dante’s Purgatono of his meeting 
with the soul of Bouonconte da Montefeltro. Dante had known 
Bouonconte in life and was greatly surprised to find that he 
had escaped permanent residence in the lower regions and ac- 
tually was on the way through Purgatory to Heaven. The noble- 
man had been no saint on earth. The soul told about his sud- 
den tragic passing from life and of a quick act of contrition 
made before death: 

**And then God’s angel took me up and he of hell shouted, 

‘Oh Thou of Heaven, why dost Thou rob me? 

Thou bearest away the eternal part of him 
For one poor little tear that takes him from me ’ ” 

That “one poor little tear” of the soldier-nobleman saved him. 
Dante’s theology was quite right on the point. If “one poor 
little tear” did such a great thing, is it any surprise to learn that 
another “one poor little tear” did the trivial thing of launching 
me out as a writer? Yet, “one poor little tear” really did that. 
It was not, of course, the same “one poor little tear,” but it 
might have been a sister of it. 



A few remarks on the power of little tears will not be out of 
place here considering the credit I am giving to one 

What would the race of man have been without tears? Noth- 
ing better, 1 fear, than a garden without water; a burning and 
unprofitable desert. All true poets wept. All prose producers 
of the beautiful in literature had their fits of sadness. Great 
poetry does not always dance into rhyme. Tears make fertile 
the ground that pain has plowed. Tears are even responsible 
for many profitable smiles. Happiness often came from tears. 
The salt in a tear is different from the salt in the ocean: the 
latter kills good soil while the former makes it productive. 
Tears are really the most fertile things in life. What, for a grand 
example, would religion be without tears? Mankind won a 
Redeemer in the red sacrificial tears of Gethsemane. 

The occasion for my weeping “one poor little tear” was a visit 
to a Kansas town on the flat prairie some forty years ago. Sym- 
pathy for a lonely priest in what looked then like a hopeless 
mission called it out and forced me, in sadness, to write his story. 
That was my real start as a writer; and my feet have never since 
left the delightful road. All I write, no matter the title, is still 
inspired by the same “one poor little tear.” In truth and fact 
the tear, in my case, is the writer. I get the credit, — ^and now 
and then the royalties — ^but the tear’s the thing. I find it both 
wise and profitable to listen and obey when I hear the gentle 
reminding voice of the tear. You see, I became a beggar by 

All this poetic stuff I have set down as a preface to the record- 
ing of the fact that the cause of the home missions drove me 
into writing and, little by little, even taught me how to write 
well enough to keep people thinking of them in season and out 
of season. I wrote appeals, direct and indirect, in prose and 
verse, in tales and reasonings; never ceasing, never satisfied and 
Deo gratias, never tired. It is grand to write when one has some- 
thing as great as that cause to write about. It was like living 
two inter-dependent lives, each one brightening the other. I 
would not wish to give up writing. I don’t see how I could give 



it up; for the cause is still very precious; a jewel of many facets 
never off the finger that has a connecting nerve to the heart. 
The word nerve was not deliberately chosen, but it has implica- 

There you have your question answered; though not perhaps 
as you would have wished it to be answered. You would want 
more detail, more emphasis perhaps on methods, more thought 
about candidates for the profession, or joy, of writing. All that 
would be professor-stuff and I am no professor. Like Topsy in 
the flesh, I “just growed” in the writing spirit. 

I keep a few self-made writing commandments in mind which 
may be of interest. They are my own and yet not my own, 
since obviously based on the old laws of Christian perfection. 
Here are some of them: 

I. Keep learning by reading and meditation. Read philoso- 
phy for order in thought, history for the knowledge of the ways of 
men, theology for living truth, essays for compression, synthesis, 
and style, orations for dignity, tales for the cultivation of the 
imagination and ease in diction, poetry for music. 

II. Store the mind by observation with apt and telling illus- 

III. Skim a little of the cream of popular science to be up with 
the times. 

IV. Find the highest and noblest objective and try to serve it. 
Mine was and still is the keeping and spreading of the Faith. 

V. Remember always that it is not yourself for whom you are 
writing but your readers. There would be no value in writing 
what only you would understand. Write to convince others or 
you waste your time. It is a sin to waste time. 

There is more, but I am moved to let the rest stay in their 

I was a fortunate candidate for writing in the fact that my 
vocation was the priesthood. A high and holy objective was 
waiting for me as soon as the oil of ordination was dry on my 
palms. Later I founded Extension, a magazine which achieved 
a large circulation and thus insured me a widespread congrega- 
tion of readers. Through it, I could reasonably expect to reach 



some non-Catholics. I wrote to preach for the printed word 
goes far and its influence never entirely passes. It works even 
when the one who sends it forth to life and action has himself 
gone forth from life and action. It makes for him a second life. 
That is the point; a second life with merit gathered after the 
harvest seemed over, with the grain in the barn. Why do I per- 
sist in writing? Simply because I desire to persist in preaching 
with an eye on that second life. 

How badly does the race of man need the Word and how hard 
It is to make men listen to It! The Catholic writer has to match 
a certain holy cunning against the world's unholy indifference 
and often actual fear of the Truth. Many people, especially 
amongst the seemingly well instructed, allow latent prejudice to 
hold them in the dark. The Catholic writer often has to invent 
a sort of Braille for this kind of folks. 

In a way it is good sport to be a writer. The hazards are many. 
The grass is sometimes long on the course. The sand is deep in 
the bunkers. There is a wide stream of indifference to carry 
over. But the game is good to play and the reward it certain. 
What once twelve fishermen did we at least can try to do. It 
cost the Twelve their lives. It costs us only a life of pleasant 
and patient effort. 

While on a visit to Dublin some years ago I met George Rus- 
sell, the Irish poet and painter who signed himself “AE." We 
came together in that queer room of his reached by the long 
stairs of Plunkett House; the one with walls painted over with 
his fantasies. Like everyone else who met “AE," I fell under 
his charm and listened to his wisdom. He has never departed 
from the house of my memories. I did not understand “AE” 
then. He was a mystic without having drunk at the true fount 
of mysticism. He revelled in Catholic thought without knowing 
from whence it flowed. He was like a child picking up bruised 
apples that had fallen outside the orchard fence, though the gate 
of that holy orchard called the Church was open and there was 
the usual welcome call to use it. Only yesterday I really under- 
stood “AE," and perhaps other great men and women like him, 
when I read an article on “AE” and his work in Maurice Leahy's 



Ireland'American Review. It was written well indeed by Irene 
Haugh who had been his secretary. Shall I not let her introduce 
the real “AE” to you? 

“I found that, sustained by my own ‘props,* I could follow ‘AE* on 
many flights into uncharted regions of the invisible world from whence 
I would come back laden with ore from which I would sift and keep 
the gold and throw away the dust. In these joumeyings I would come 
within sight of Truths which had been but names to me before, eternal 
castles of the invisible world about which *A£' could fling many a fancy 
of his own but which I was seeing for the first time, exclaiming in my 
heart, like a child looking at a famous view: ‘Why that’s been hanging 
on the wall at home for years.* 

“In other words, through ‘A£* I began to realise the truth of my own 
rdigion, which I had, as so many Catholics do, always taken for granted 
I began to explore the meaning of words which I used unthinkingly 
every day. He made me word conscious, quick to realise when in a 
poem they came out of ‘deep own Being’ or just out of the literary 
memory. He had many words such as 'Logos’ or ‘The Great Deep’ 
where I would write God.” 

Just a little more, please: 

“Times were changing He became out of touch with the new genera- 
tion and the new Government (19S2), but found leisure at last to write 
the book he had in mind for some years* Song and Its Fountains, If 
only he had entered now the world of Catholic mysticism, steeped his 
mind in Christian philosophy as he had long ago in oriental lore, that 
Irdand which he loved, now becoming in his opinion more and more 
materialistic, might yet have received that spiritual revival for which he 
had so long hoped. But a revival not as he had expected, a neo- 
Druidism, but an Irish Catholic Renaissance with *A£* as the light and 
the poet and the saint of the movement.** 

There are thousands, not as great as was “AE,** but surely as 
needy, still outside the holy orchard fence picking up the apples 
that fall on the wrong side. They have a sort of spiritual kin- 
ship with us who are inside, yet they do not enter and take what 
is theirs for the taking. Sometimes it is traditional prejudice 
that keeps them out. Sometimes it is only timidity. Often it is 
the suspicion that the holy orchard is too good to be true. Then, 
alas, there is pride. Now and then — ^but certainly not in such 
as “AE” — it is sin. Alas I whatever it is, we Catholics too often 
fail such people — God forgive us! It is worth all it costs Catholic 
writers to make an effort to reach them. Even if we fail we have 



the merit and joy of the effort. What then does a little more 
patient labor matter? A little more of struggle to express? A 
little more prayer? My God, what a grand thing it is to be 
privileged to tryl I reproach myself that it was worldly states- 
manship 1 talked with '*A£.’* I might not have brought him in 
but at least I would not have failed him utterly. At the very 
least I might have pointed to the open gate. No man can tell 
how far and wide the water will flow for which he has made an 
ever-so-tiny a channel. 

Tiny channels! Tiny things! It*s not the channel but the 
flow that counts. Humility is thought of as the tiniest of virtues; 
but it is one of the most powerful; especially in a writer; for it is 
sister to simplicity and simplicity is the crown of style. 

“Proper words in proper places" may not be all there is to 
style in spite of Dean Swift, but it is a great deal. A Frenchman 
wrote that style is the man himself; which means that it cannot 
be used as a mask. It has to be genuine. One writes what one 
is. Happy then if the humility and simplicity of one’s way of 
writing is as natural as one’s way of walking. It will not do in 
writing to ignore the bigness of the little things. They count. 
A very little weight is all that is needed to tip the delicately 
adjusted scale of life’s values. The epigram is the biggest little 
written thing but it may in action become as powerful as a 
treatise. Let no Catholic writer in decent humility ever forget 
what may yet happen to the thought he records on paper and 
for which in stern justice he has made himself responsible before 
God. There is missionary value in all truly Catholic writing. 
He brings it out clearest who feels his keen responsibility for it. 

So much error — even sin — Olives in the world today, so much 
actual hostility or lazy indifference to the Truth, that the Cath- 
olic writer was never more needed. The stern theologian with 
his measuring rod and scissors will always be with us. We can- 
not make him either laugh or make him weep. He just won’t 
descend to eloquence. He walks among us as straight as a ram- 
rod with his eyes always on the firmament. He won’t pick the 
flowers by the roadside to color his wisdom. Flowers to him are 
evidences or nothing worth bothering about. We couldn’t do 



without the theologian but most o£ us wouldn't want to be like 
him. We have to play. We have to sing. The path would be 
tiresome without laughter to brighten it. Not all writers can 
ignore the weather and take sun, shade, and storm as indiffer- 
ently as does the theologian. Indeed, not many readers either. 
But Truth does not hate us. It shuns only the company of 
error. Truth can be reasoned, declaimed, or chanted. It often 
smiles. Chesterton put it into the best ballad in the English 
tongue — Lepanto. Thomas Aquinas put it into syllogisms; 
Bossuet into funeral sermons; Newman into the novel; Thomp- 
son into poetry. One poem of Eileen Duggan, After the Annun- 
ciation, is a work of Chnstian theology in two lovely verses. 
It is joy as well as study you get when you read it thoughtfully. 
The field of the Catholic writer is the most beautiful of all the 
green and fertile fields of literature. Others have flowers, moun- 
tains, streams, and oceans, but the Catholic writer has all of 
them and more. He has the secret of their charm. He does not 
have to remain half-satisfied with wormy and bruised apples 
fallen over the fence for he is in the holy orchard and can take 
its ripe fruit all luscious and rosy off the eternal trees. 

editor’s note Bishop Kelley’s more recent books include Sacerdos et Pontt- 
fex' letters to a bishop-elect, 1940, St. Anthony Guild Press, The Bishop Jots 
It Down an autobiographical strain of memories, 1939, Harpers, Letters to 
Jack, 10th edition, revised 1939, St. Anthony Guild Press; Problem Island, 
1937, St. Anthony Guild Press; Pack Rat, 1942, Bruce. 



HAVING EXCLUDED “I*' from all his published writings, the above 
named feels awkward in personal anecdotage, and will therefore 
impose his ideographies and other ideo-cies on K., or Dr. K., 
when so entitled. 

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” and in K’s. case, obedi- 
ence was the mother of necessity. After his entrance at Mungret 
College, Ireland, 1880, and the Jesuit Order, 1886, he wrote now 
and then for college publications, always by direction, and his 
humorous epics on Mungret's monks' defeat of Cashel's in Dead 
Languages and Maguire’s forestallment of Columbus occasioned 
some comment. Enamored of Homer, and deeming no English 
version adequate, he translated the Iliad*s first book into rhym- 
ing verse in Homeric meter, but realizing that even so the bard 
had escaped him, he let his Homer sleep and his Greeks stop 
short of Troy. Charged as a young professor with literary ex- 
hibits, he wrote the college plays for some years and translated 
his Horace and Virgil lessons into English verse. Some of his 



plays were sought for publication, but being always kept busy 
with other duties, once he had met the present needs he was 
satisfied. He wrote a few boys’ stories under pressure when 
Father Finn was in flower, but soon, left that field to its master. 

But the rhyming exercise had its uses. It trains the ear to 
cadence of language and choice of the fitting word and pithy 
phrase. And so it may qualify even the poetaster for smooth 
and balanced prose. With some imagination and sense of 
beauty, he may soar on occasion to poetic heights, and he is 
more likely to become a competent critic. One who has never 
rhymed can rarely appraise the finer things in literary values. 

Busy with classes of philosophy and literature, K. publicized 
only from the pulpit, until the persuasive Father John Wynne, 
S.J., came South in 1908 to promote the national weekly, 
America, which was to replace his monthly magazine. The Mes- 
senger. At his urging, K. speeded to Atlanta to write him a 
feature article on Joel Chandler Harris, who had just died in 
the Faith. Having interviewed Uncle Remus’ gracious Catholic 
wife, and carried off all his books and writings, K. presented for 
the next issue an illustrated story which the Harris family and 
Father Wynne pronounced the truest picture of “Uncle Remus’’; 
wherein the author still modestly concurs. For the next issue. 
Father Wynne wired K., then in Galveston, to send him in a 
week a ten-page review of Mrs. Green’s The Making of Ireland 
and Its Undoing. ’Twas the first of the kind he had essayed, 
but he knew Irish history, and the article reached New York ac- 
ceptably on time. Therewith, The Messenger became defunct, 
and K. came to life on the founding staff of the new weekly 
magazine, America. 

He had nothing to say about it. His Provincial had sent a 
few lines directing him to leave for New York forthwith to 
represent the New Orleans Province on the national magazine 
then aborning, and Holy Obedience, poor thing, had to equip 
him for journalism at forty-six. Well, he had what Dana of 
The Sun deemed the essentials: a knowledge of the Bible and 
of the U. S. Constitution, including presumably their historical 



surroundings and an interest in the public questions underlying 
them, a prime journalistic requisite. 

K. had some months to acquire technique before America was 
launched on April 17, 1909, the day of Jeanne d’ Arc’s Beatifica- 
tion. He had the honor of writing the first article thereon and 
also the first review of books on the Warrior Maid. This set him 
in conflict with The Literary Digest; which he scored for pre- 
senting a few bigoted press notices as public opinion on the 
event; and he kept sending the scorings to the Digests advertisers 
until it made amendment. It helped to make America respected, 
and enlarged its advertising value. 

Some of K’s. contributions on Miracles, Masonry, Mexico, 
Pope Pius X., etc., were pamphleted in The Catholic Mind, and 
he was urged to put others in book form. But, assigned to write 
articles, editorials and reviews on whatever subject came up, he 
found the day’s work, and the night’s, quite enough. This was 
often interesting. The Irish Players came over about 1912, and 
K., having read all the output of Yeats, Synge & Co., exposed 
them in a series of articles and editorials as motively anti-Irish 
because anti-Catholic. Twenty years later, at the Irish Eucharis- 
tic Congress, Archdeacon Nolan of Tipperary gave him special 
hospitalities upon learning he was the person Mr. Yeats referred 
to when on return he attributed the failure of his Players* tour 
to “a certain Father Kenny.” 

Leaving America in 1915, after seven years’ service, the last of 
the original staff, K. was pleased to escape the difficulties our 
entrance into the war created for editors even then. Appointed 
professor of philosophy at Loyola University, New Orleans, and 
lecturer on jurisprudence and Regent of Loyola Law School, K. 
prepared treatises on Fundamental Law and on Legal Ethics, 
which attained book size but never book form; for, when Sociol- 
ogy and Political Economy were added to his program, he lacked 
zest or rest to polish them for print. 

But he contributed to the Loyola Law Journal he had initi- 
ated, and when Father Blakely contended in America that the 
Oklahoma Legislature in prohibiting sacramental wine and its 



lower courts in sustaining it were within “State rights/' and the 
U. S. Supreme Court had no jurisdiction therein, K. felt con- 
strained to launch his recent legal acquirements against that 
constitutional heresy. He wrote five articles for America, main- 
taining by reasoning and judicial record that the law was invalid 
and that the Supreme Court had power to declare it so. The 
grounds he presented were embodied, on appeal, in the opinion 
of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma proclaiming the law's in- 

He had written “The 'Intention' Exposition of Freemasonry'' 
in The Messenger of the Sacred Heart, and a series of articles 
in America, and America Press issued them in the pamphlet, 
American Masonry, 

Requested by the President of the Catholic Educational As- 
sociation, K. presented a paper at their 1918 San Francisco Con- 
vention on “American Masonry and Catholic Education." It 
was a factual, documented exposition of American Masonry's 
machinations and their immediate menace to Catholic schools, 
such as the Oregon Law was soon to actuate, and it was all based 
on their published records. Yet it was the only one of the papers 
read that the Board barred from their Convention Book. How- 
ever, it was printed, in 1919, by Creighton University, where K. 
was giving a course in Sociology, and soon the International 
Catholic Truth Society gave it wide circulation. An enlarged 
edition in 1926 had a striking Preface by Archbishop Curley 
frankly condemning the Board's weakness and unwisdom in 
suppressing it. In 1940, Dr K. prepared a new edition, to be 
issued in book form, bringing Masonry's more flagrant interven- 
ing projects up to date. This was accepted approvingly by the 
editor of the Catholic Truth Society, who had suggested it. But 
its publication has not yet appeared, though present and pro- 
spective conditions indicate the alarming need of such reveal- 

Under like pressure. Dr. K. read papers at several national 
conventions on charitable and social service, which were duly 
published in their records, and some of his addresses were 



pamphleted, notably Ireland*s Case. But, though his published 
products would fill some volumes, he had so far escaped a 
“book." It was only when approaching seventy that this achieve- 
ment was imposed on him. 

Transferred to Spring Hill College, Alabama, in 1924, to 
teach philosophy and sociology to the graduating class, K. earned 
a Ph.D. from Fordham in vacational courses, and was granted 
a Litt.D. by Spring Hill for a more extensive thesis. It was the 
Centenary Story of the College, founded in 1830, by Most Rev- 
erend Michael Portier, first Bishop of Mobile. It was a heavy 
appendage to Dr. K’s. teaching program. But the request of 
Father Walsh as Rector and Provincial was a factual command. 
Dr. K. studied the historic French and Spanish background, and 
what had happened under “Five Flags," four wars, and scores of 
yellow fever plagues, and he collected what records two fires and 
four changes of college government had left. He then acquired 
a typist, and dictating in his tree hours and summer vacation, by 
fall he had achieved a four-hundred page book, titled by the 
America Press Catholic Culture in Alabama, but more appositely 
on second printing, The Torch on the Hill. It had a very good 
press, secular and Catholic, and several reviewers insisted it was 
the only college history they had ever found interesting. There 
were certainly few that presented such striking variety in event- 
ful contacts and in college life and personnel, and the fact that a 
Catholic college held charter from a deep south Protestant State 
as far back as 1835, and never missed a graduation since, could 
hardly fail to make a stirring story. 

Before the author had time to read it, his Provincial had as- 
signed him another book, the expansion of his notice in the 
Spring Hill background of the Jesuit and other martyrs of 
Florida. Having treated Spring HilPs governing bodies as they 
came — Seculars, Mercys, Eudists, and Jesuits, who took charge 
only in 1847 — ^Dr. K. dealt similarly with Dominicans, Francis- 
cans, and others, who came before and after or between the 
Jesuits in Florida. Noting the omission or distortion in current 
histories of our Catholic foundings in Spanish Florida, then ex- 



tending from the Gulf to the Potomac, Dr. K. set himself to re- 
place fable by fact and tell the true story in The Romance of the 
Flondas, 1312^1574. 

A full page feature article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled 
Dr. K. “A Priest Debunker.” But the book's positive value 
was attested by the two premier authorities on Spanish America: 
Dr. J. A. Robertson, in a learned Preface, and Dr. Herbert 
Bolton, who told the American Historical Society it was the book 
with which all students of Spanish America must start. Strangely, 
its only disparagement appeared in The Catholic Historical Re- 
view, whose editor had praised it highly in the Baltimore Catholic 
Review. One charge demands notice. Grown irate over a brief 
comment on his own peculiar theories, the critic accused Dr. K. of 
injurious brevity regarding the Franciscans. In fact. Dr. K. went 
far outside his dated limit, 1574, to bring before his readers the 
heroic Franciscans who, in the seventeenth century, established 
forty-four settlements of some 30,000 native Christians in Florida 
and Georgia, often at the cost of their lives. 

It was this story of America's Catholic pioneers that led to our 
Hierarchy's recent petition to Rome for admission to the beati- 
fying process of more than a hundred priests and laymen who 
died for the Faith on United States soil. Dr. K. had prepared 
brochures from his book on Pedro Martinez, first Jesuit Martyr 
of America, slain in Florida in 1566, and on the eight Jesuit 
Martyrs of Virginia in 1571, and these the Bishops of St. Augus- 
tine and Richmond presented to the Hierarchy at their next an- 
nual meeting. Containing also a long array of martyrs of all 
Orders, The Romance of the Flondas extended the prelates' in- 
terest to all our martyrs; and our hierarchy's representative. 
Bishop Gannon of Erie appointed Dr. K. on a committee of three 
to select those eligible and submit the proofs of their heroism. 

The WPA of Florida translated the entire Romance into 
Braille. But Dr. K. found that, while the blind could discern its 
saints and heroes, the seeing could not, since the Bruce Com- 
pany's second edition had become exhausted. Not only its bear- 
ing on our martyrs' cause, but its authentic exposition of our 



Catholic origins, would seem to make it urgent that a new edition 
shall soon be supplied. 

While preparing our martyrs* records. Dr. K. was pressed to 
write the historic story of his native parish, Glankeen, and also 
the life of Mother Butler, the late distinctive and distinguished 
General of the Sacred Heart of Mary Congregation. Having 
completed both in his eightieth year to the promoters’ satisfac- 
tion, he was asked there anent how to attain vigorous old age. 
He replied: “Keep mind and body in good exercise.” 

THERE IS JUST One moral to this story: if you get books in your 
blood you are apt to be working on them in some form until the 
end; there is no environment which offers in turn so much in- 
spiration and so much disappointment, so many hours of un- 
appreciated and solitary labor with unexpected recognition for 
something you thought unimportant, such varied and warm hu- 
man contacts with the talented and the scholarly, no career which 
is usually so poor in economic returns but so rich in other op- 
portunities and interests. 

My earliest introduction to American literature was under the 
guidance of my grandmother who, when first inflicted with the 
care of two motherless children, read us to sleep at night with 
Longfellow’s Hiawatha and a long story from Our Sunday Visi- 
tor about the Seminole Indians in the Dismal Swamp. Escaping 
from her tutelage during vacation time, I remember ranging at 
an early age along the shelves of a boarding-house library in 
southwest Virginia, where one summer’s reading included four 
or five volumes of Dickens, all of Myrtle Reed and The Private 



Life of Ivan the Terrible. In striking contrast was our early 
reading in French literature. We began to study French at the 
age of nine or ten with Mile. Antoinette Margot, a pious and re- 
markable lady from Switzerland, who saw to it that we had noth- 
ing more sophisticated than the volumes of Madame de S^gur 
and the Journals of Eugenie de Guerin. But she was strong on 
grammar and composition, and I am indebted to her for a good 
groundwork in the French language, which has always been an 

At St. Patrick’s Academy in Washington, D. C., where I went 
both to elementary and high school, I was again blessed with 
some fine teachers of English among the Sisters of the Holy Cross. 
Monsignor Russell, later bishop of Charleston, was then pastor 
of our church, and each year he offered a prize for the best 
biography of some personage having to do with the early settle- 
ment of Maryland. I was greatly disappointed to come out only 
second on Charles Carroll of Carrolton, but the next season made 
the grade with Queen Henrietta Maria of England. The best 
thing about this whole business was the many hours I spent in 
the Georgetown University with Father Shandelle, the delightful 
old librarian, a scholar and a gentleman of the old school. At 
that time I thought the finest thing in the world would be to 
work in a library. 

On leaving high school I took a vacation job, and stayed on a 
year and a half, with Dr. Henri Hyvernat — the doings of Mile. 
Margot — as secretary and library assistant. This priest was a 
specialist in Oriental Languages and a truly great scholar who, 
in addition to his teaching duties at the Catholic University of 
America, was retained by J. P. Morgan as his adviser on Oriental 
manuscripts. He was French, as were his two assistants, so that 
all the work of the office was carried on in that language, as was 
his correspondence. I recall that many letters were exchanged 
between him and another great specialist in his field — Monsignor 
Ratti of the Vatican Library. 

The next episode was with the Carnegie Endowment for Inter- 
national Peace, where I worked for a number of years, suc- 
cessively as secretary, proof-reader, researcher, and editor in the 



division of international law. During this time 1 took college 
work at George Washington University and at the Catholic Uni- 
versity summer school. One glorious year — ^in 1926 — the Endow- 
ment gave me and a fellow-worker leave of absence to attend the 
University of Grenoble, where at the end we received a diploma 
entitling us to teach French — ^which neither of us had any in- 
tention of doing, 1 in particular having no delusions about 
French with a Virginia accent which refused until the bitter end 
to yield to the courses in phonetics for which Grenoble was 

In 1929 I left Washington to come to New York and took a 
position with the Century Company as secretary to the President, 
but quickly escaped into the editorial department of the old 
Century magazine, which shortly collapsed. At that time, Mr. 
Michael Williams of the Commonweal needed someone to do 
research on some books which he was writing, so I was intro- 
duced into the unique atmosphere of that magazine office and I 
shall be forever grateful for the privilege of working with him 
and for the personalities and movements with which I became 
familiar at that time. 

In 1931 I went to France as secretary of the newly-founded 
French Book Club, my duties being to contact the French pub- 
lishers and route from them to the selecting committee of the 
Club — the Abb^ Dimnet, Countess de Chambrun, Firmin Roz 
and Andr^ Maurois — the proofs of forthcoming books, to get the 
editors to make their decisions on time, and then to attend to 
the practical matters of purchase and shipment to the United 
States. My contacts with the members of the committee, all in- 
terested and warmly cooperative, were a great privilege, and the 
experiences I had in the French publishing houses would make 
a volume in themselves. The appeal of the French Book Club 
was not specifically to Catholics, but because of previous associa- 
tions I was naturally interested in this trend in French literature 
and made a point of meeting such writers as Jacques Mari tain, 
Henri Gh6on, Emmanuel Mounier, and other leaders in the 
Catholic revival — 1 had gone to France with letters from Paul 
Claudel, then Ambassador to Washington. I also took on the 



additional work of scouting for books to be translated into Eng- 
lish and conducted some business with French authors on behalf 
of Sheed and Ward in London. 

In 1933 Mr. Michael Williams came to Rome where I met him 
to make further plans for the completion of The Catholic Church 
in Action on which we had done some work while at the Com- 
monweal, We spent some days in the Vatican Library, and 1 
was able to receive from specialists directions for further research 
which I was to carry on in the Library of the Institut Catholique 
in Paris and at the library of the Catholic Truth Society in Lon- 
don. This writing I did in addition to the regular work of the 
French Book Club. And at about the same time I translated 
Madame Maritain's child’s life of St. Thomas for Sheed and 

At the end of 1934 1 was forced (and it was really a blow) to 
leave Paris where I had been so happy for nearly four years. Due 
to the fall of the American dollar the editorial work of the French 
Book Club was turned over to a French company, and I came 
back to the New York office. In 1934 the French Book Club 
passed into the hands of the Book-of-the-Month Club, and after 
some scurrying around for a job I passed into the hands of Long- 
mans, Green and Company in New York who, although they had 
long published Catholic writers, were looking for someone to 
take charge of a newly-established Catholic department. The 
same thought struck their London office, for they simultaneously 
employed a Catholic editor — ^Tom Bums, formerly of Sheed and 
Ward, with whom I had worked very harmoniously during my 
years in Paris. 

My literary doings since 1935 may be judged by a look at the 
catalogues of Catholic books published by Longmans, Green 
since that date. Every one of these books has a story in which the 
editor has naturally been vitally interested. Some of them were 
written as the result of the discussion of an idea with the authors, 
some came in in unfinished form, some in foreign languages 
which had to be translated, some were unsolicited and beautifully 
typewritten manuscripts (N.B. last very rare). It has been fun to 
work with every one of the authors, whose reactions to our edi- 



torial assistance have varied from fierce invective regarding un- 
warranted interference in the matter of punctuation and style of 
spelling to the grateful presentation of books and cookies and, in 
the case of one Japanese gentleman, of a kimona “for skilled mid- 
wifery in bringing forth my book.” It has indeed been a great 
privilege to work with such personages as Jacques and Raissa 
Maritain, who have not only allowed us to translate and publish 
their writings but have brought to us other authors; indeed M. 
Maritain has recently become co-editor of our Golden Measure 
series. I also took much pleasure in translating Mauriac's Li^e 
of Jesus for publication in the United States and England. 

Although Longmans was originally an English concern and 
has long published many of the best of the English Catholic 
writers, we have endeavored to build up a list of books by Cath- 
olic authors dealing with American subjects, and have had the 
pleasure of publishing the books of such writers as Daniel Sar- 
gent, Theodore Maynard, Doran Hurley and Katherine Burton. 
Dealing with these authors, who have done so much to make 
American Catholics mindful of their historical background, has 
been most inspiring and it is a pleasure to be able to count such 
people among one’s personal friends. 


Spiritual Writer 

“slightly exaggerated, ehl” chuckled the dying priest as he 
smilingly greeted me, at the same time handing me a clipping 
taken from the morning paper. Knowing his keen delight in 
sharing interesting bits of information with his friends, and his 
kindly humor, I took the clipping, marveling that one so close to 
eternity could be so unconcerned about himself. Father had 
been brought to the hospital in the last stages of the dreaded 
influenza, for without thought for himself he fearlessly visited his 
stricken people, consoling them and bringing them the Holy 

To say the least, the clipping was most extraordinary, for it 
was an article telling of the death of the priest who lay there be- 
fore me, smiling and evidently enjoying my reaction. The noble 
exemplary life of this sainted priest was given in detail, his devo- 
tion to his Tabernacled King and his unselfish service to the every 
want of his flock, even to the sacrificing of his life in ministering 
to them. As I finished reading, again I heard his chuckle and he 
repeated, “Slightly exaggerated. Father.” 



As my own life nears the half century mark, I am asked not to 
have another write my life history, but I am asked to do it myself. 
Will someone reading it nod his head, smile and chuckle as he 
says, “Slightly exaggerated, ehl” Well, autobiographies for the 
most part are dull, narrow or slightly exaggerated, and of the 
three I prefer mine to be — oh, why bother making the decision? 

As I look back over the years, recalling the aspirations, the 
longings of my heart, the ideals I set out to follow, I hesitate. 
And yet if this narration of my personal history will encourage 
or inspire or console anyone in similar circumstances, I will give 
the more important factors that have contributed to a life that 
has neither been dull nor narrow, and 1 trust the telling will not 
be even “slightly exaggerated." 

There was nothing extraordinary in my life: our home was 
poor, simple, beautiful and deeply religious. 1 was born in 
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, January the twenty-seventh, eighteen 
hundred and ninety-three, and there the first years of my carefree 
and happy childhood were passed in a home where hard work 
was the rule. And yet as 1 look back, I know those days to have 
come forth from the very gates of Paradise. The vivid visioning 
of detail in the smallest flower to the mist-shrouded hills of lovely 
Wisconsin, the exquisite coloring of bush and evening sky come 
almost unbidden now as I seek for some picture of nature’s love- 
liness to add beauty to a meditation on the Blessed Christ. I 
seem to re-live those days amid the surroundings of a thoroughly 
Catholic home, for a gifted and cultured lady and a deep lover 
of books in the person of my loved mother and father guided and 
directed and supervised our childhood and youthful days. 

My father, generous, sturdy, a veritable furnace of energy, a 
strong man untouched by age, sustained by faith, a formative in- 
fluence in the community, was determined that I, his only son, 
should have every educational advantage that it was in his power 
to give. He personally saw to it that 1 should be well-read, se- 
leaing the books he felt I should know and love. One of my 
treasures today is his well-worn copy of the Life and Times o/ 
General Sherman. To this man, this omniverous reader, I owe 
the serious turn of my mind, and the realization of the ideal that 



one day I would write books. Through the mercies of the 
Blessed Christ, three books have been written and published and 
several more are about ready for publication. 

To my gentle mother, trained in all the fine arts of the day by 
the exiled French Sisters of Charity in Sheffield, England, can be 
traced my love for nature, my interest in literature and public 
speaking. The reading, writing and speaking knowledge of the 
languages I early learned has been most useful in my priestly 
ministry. The sincerity and religious character of my loved par- 
ents influenced the lives of both their children, for the Blessed 
Christ called both to His service. For nineteen years Sister Mary 
Dominic served in the Order of the Sisters of Mercy in Chicago, 
and for these thirty years I, as a son of Saint Dominic. 

The longing to be a writer probably had its initiation during 
the days I served as a printer's devil, for then I actually knew the 
“feel” of words in the handling of the type in a busy newspaper 
office. My secret ambition was fostered by my teacher in the 
fourth grade. Miss Katherine Lane, who not only loved poetry 
herself but read us beautiful gems I shall never forget, and who 
urged us to read poetry of our own choosing until we were at 
least “poetry conscious,” if not admirers of poetry. Miss Lane 
also wrote poetry and recently I was quite stirred to see one of 
her poems in The Commonweal. Later in Chicago at the Visita- 
tion School, Sister Mary Claude, O.P., a splendid teacher, en- 
couraged me in this longing to become a writer. Her unfailing 
inspiration followed me through the years and, in 1934, just be- 
fore her death, it was my happy privilege to dedicate to her the 
six radio talks on “Faith,” given on the Catholic Hour over the 
National Broadcasting System. These talks were published by 
Our Sunday Visitor Press, with a Foreword by His Excellency, 
the Most Reverend Archbishop Joseph Schrembs of Cleveland. 

Memorable and delightful were the years beginning in 1907 
spent at Cathedral College, Chicago, under two gifted teachers, 
the late Reverend Doctor Thomas C. Gaffney, one time President 
of the Catholic Writers' Guild of Chicago, and our loved Scrip- 
ture Professor. It was Dr. Gaffney who planted deep in our 
hearts a knowledge and a love for Holy Writ, a “vade mecum” 



during my whole life; and the Right Reverend Monsignor 
Francis A. Purcell, D.D., then rector of the college and, at pres- 
ent, pastor at Saint Mel’s Church, Chicago. The Monsignor’s 
insistent “nulla dies sine linea,” repeated in and out of season 
laid the groundwork for any laurels that may be mine today in 
the field of writing. Faithful to his advice, nay rather command, 
during my academic and scholastic days I wrote “a line a day,” 
and as a Dominican novice my Saturday mornings were spent in 
writing. I entered the Dominican novitiate in 1913, at Saint 
Joseph’s Priory, Somerset, Ohio; and although much that I wrote 
found its way .into the waste-paper basket, yet some of it was 
published, and my first article on “Saint Vincent Ferrer” came 
out in The Baltimore Catholic Review. This was followed by a 
series of articles on the saints, as requested by the editor. Mon- 
signor Cornelius F. Thomas. 

Another series on the saints was composed for The Sentinel of 
the Blessed Sacrament, and other articles were written for The 
Missionary and for Emmanuel. The editor of The Ecclesiastical 
Review read these contributions and asked me to write the com- 
memorative article for the seven hundredth anniversary of Saint 
Francis of Assisi. Then came the assignment, a request to read a 
paper on “The Mass and the Priest’s Personal Sanctification,” at 
the Eucharistic Congress to be held in Philadelphia, 1921, that 
marked the first of the series on a theme that has characterized 
all my writings. 

Novitiate and student days at the Dominican House of Studies, 
Washington, D. C., and at the Catholic University of America 
found me still working on “a line a day.” Articles were accepted 
by newspapers and magazines, sometimes signed with my own 
name, and again with several pen names, especially “Dominic 
Mead.” But I ceased using pen names when several times I was 
“accused” of the authorship of some particularly superior article. 
Now all my articles are signed, for I learned the lesson that “cir- 
cumstantial evidence pillories a man at times.” 

From 1920 to 1925, 1 was a member of the faculty at Providence 
College, Providence, Rhode Island, teaching Church History. A 
series of sermons given during the Lent of 1922 attracted the at- 



tention of Monsignor James O'Brien, the editor of The Provi- 
dence Visitor, and the brother of Father Michael O'Brien, pastor 
of Saint John's Church where the sermons were preached. 

The Monsignor asked me for a copy of the sermons and re- 
quested that I take care of the column “Tabernacle Talks" for 
the paper, as well as frequently asking that I write the editorials. 
These talks were published as my first book. Benediction from 
Solitude (1926), which was dedicated to my Father and Mother. 

At the death of Monsignor Joseph L. J. Kirlin in 1926, in writ- 
ing his eulogy I grieved that there was no one to take up his 
gifted pen and continue to keep the fire of love aglow in the 
hearts of priests through the monthly “Hour of Adoration," then 
coming out in Emmanuel, the organ of the Priests' Eucharistic 
League. Little did I dream that this honor would be granted 
me, but it was, and for sixteen years, without fail, each issue of 
Emmanuel has carried an “Hour of Adoration," a labor of love 
on my part, as well as the monthly book review column. 

Love for the Tabernacled Christ and the Lady Mary made me 
deeply interested in little children, and I was eager to give them 
a booklet on the Holy Sacrifice. I had been a “Sunday curate" 
for four years at Saint Ann's Italian Church, Providence, and 
had learned to talk to children. So in 1927, appeared the book- 
let At Mass. This was favorably received and has had seventy- 
five subsequent printings. His Holiness, Pope Pius XI, asked 
Monsignor Francis J. Spellman, now the Most Reverend Arch- 
bishop of New York, to translate At Mass into Italian. During 
this same year, my second book came out: Tabernacle Talks, a 
series of meditations tor the Holy Hour. The Foreword for this 
was written by the Most Reverend Michael James Gallagher of 
revered memory. 

I had the happiness, in 1932, of going to Rome and having an 
audience with Pope Pius XI, to whom I presented bound copies 
of all my books and especially the monograph I had written, 
Pius XI, the Mountaineer of God. Never will I forget the smile 
that lighted his face as he glanced through the monograph, and 
his hearty laugh as he told me an incident of his climb up the 
Jungfrau. The deep feeling of awe filled my heart as I knelt and 



listened to the fatherly words of encouragement from the Vicar 
of Christ. 

As one of the consultors of the National Eucharistic Con- 
gresses, I have been the official reporter of these Congresses for 
twenty years. I was especially interested in the proceedings of 
the First Eucharistic Congress of the Oriental Rites, held in Chi- 
cago in 1941. 1 had been associated for some time with the 
Bishops and the priests of the Ukrainian Rite in their work 
among their own people. But perhaps the keenest joy of my 
heart and my special hobby is the work I have been instrumental 
in doing for the Blessed Martin de Porres Centre for Colored 
children in Chicago. 

During leisure moments of these years on the Mission Band, I 
wrote the chapters of a third volume, chosen as the Spiritual 
Book Associates* Book of the Month for December, 1942, The 
Way of the Blessed Christ. This is a sheaf of meditations. Hours 
of Adoration, for which the Most Reverend Samuel A. Stritch, 
Archbishop of Chicago, wrote an apostolic Foreword. From my 
earliest years when I vowed to use whatever talents I might have 
in the cause of the Eucharistic Christ and His Blessed Mother, 
to the present, I have striven to make Christ’s Kingdom better 
known, to write of Him, about Him, and for Him. 

What I have found profitable and helpful I gladly pass on to 
our young Catholic writers who are eager to receive the torch of 
Catholic Literature from their predecessors, the gallant writers 
of the Apostolate of the Pen who have battled bravely in a sin- 
seared world, a modern mislead world. We who have fought in 
this battle of books, know that one must write from his heart and 
not from his library; he must write simply and clearly, and for 
the truth. Read and love the Holy Scriptures and live them. 
Read Chesterton, Belloc, Dawson, and the other militant Cath- 
olic wielders of the pen. Refrain from controversy and the de- 
fense of near-tainted books, remembering always that Catholic 
Literature is the handmaid of the Church, and her garments 
must be kept white and shining and lustrous no matter what the 
allurements in the monetary line may be. “Shadowy stories,*’ 



**pagan and unlovely” articles may still bring the thirty pieces of 
silver with which Judas sold the Blessed Christ. 

Dark and dismal and cloudy days may come, made heavy with 
rejected manuscripts; but with perseverance and prayer the 
heights will be reached. There is no success without a touch of 
the Cross. And perhaps honor and recognition may come to you, 
as it came to me, after years of hard work, through the Gallery of 
Living Catholic Authors. When this came how I would have 
loved to rush home to Father and Mother and Sister Mary 
Dominic and share with them my joy, but I knew they were 
rejoicing with me from their places in eternity. 

I ask you, young talented writers, to dedicate yourselves as 
apostles of Our Lady of Letters, to offer yourselves as crusaders 
to fight and do battle for the truth, to champion the cause of the 
Blessed Christ, to pray daily to the Holy Spirit for Wisdom and 
Fortitude to carry high the torch, so that you in your turn may 
pass it, still flaming, to those who will follow in the Apostolate 
of Catholic Writing. 

editor’s note. Father Kienberger’s publications include Tabernacle Talks, 
1927, R. A. Mayer, Chicago; At Mass, 1927, R. A. Mayer; Benediction from 
Solitude, 1926, Macmillan; The Way of the Blessed Christ, 1942, Longmans. 


Religious Writer 

MY PARENTS, Nicholas Krull and Theda Mmers-Krull, lived m 
Lorup, Hanover, where I was born January 12, 1874, and where 
I received my early education, such as elementary and supple- 
mentary studies. After that, I emigrated to Dayton, Ohio, and 
made preparatory studies for college entry. In 1891, I entered 
St. Francis College, Cincinnati, Ohio. During the summer vaca- 
tion, the Fathers of the Community of the Precious Blood at- 
tracted my attention to the religious life. The following year I 
entered St. Joseph’s College, Collegeville, Indiana. There I re- 
ceived the A.B. degree. Then I was sent to St. Charles College, 
Carthagena, Ohio, where I was ordained priest on December 1 7, 

The professors at St. Joseph’s College and at St. Charles Sem- 
inary instilled in the students a love for books and a desire to 
write. Even then they encouraged me to write. As the librarian 
at the college and later on at the seminary, I had an opportunity 
of acquainting myself with the works of great writers. The So- 
ciety of the Precious Blood gave me these opportunities. After 



my ordination, 1 was appointed editor of the Messenger of the 
Precious Blood. Later on, 1 was appointed Missionary, in which 
capacity I traveled and gave missions for eighteen consecutive 
years. It was during this period that most of my books were 
edited and published. 

Gratitude compelled me to write A Biography of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary. In 1898, I had lost my eyesight and was totally 
blind in one eye. For several months I was under the care of Dr. 
Harnish of Chicago, who suggested an ocean trip. Following his 
and my parents’ suggestion, I went across, came back to Lorup 
and visited my pious pastor. He advised me strongly to make 
another novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The pastor. Father 
Bernard Froelke, prayed for me in Mass. After the last day of 
the novena, I could see. This happened before I entered upon 
my seminary studies at Carthagena. The following poem set my 
sentiment into rhyme: 

My future lot was cast in gloom 
As blindness seemed to be my doom. 

1 looked for help. I found none other 
Than Thee, O Mary, dearest Mother. 

O dearest Mother, I proclaim 

With grateful heart Thy world-wide fame. 

And I profess with ev’ry breath 
That I do love Thee unto death. 

My heart with love for Thee imbued 
Shall sing in deepest gratitude. 

Thy glory's praise, a lover’s token 
Until my eyes in death are broken. 

Beyond the grave, beyond the sky 
My soul shall praise and magnify 
With better grace, with purer love 
Thee, Mother dear, in heav’n above. 

My booklet, The Blessed Virgin Mary, was written in gratitude 
from the many favors received from Our Lady. It was based 
upon information culled from the Bible, from patristic literature, 
from aocient tradition, from the decrees of the Church, and from 
history and observation. 



It found favor with the editors of Catholic papers and with 
thousands of Catholics and hundreds of Protestants. More than 
sixteen thousand copies were read in this country. It breathes 
filial love towards our heavenly Mother, the Mother of God. In 
several parishes, this booklet is used as a manual for May devo- 

In my missions and lecture courses, I found that the people, in 
general, are eager to know more about the Divinity of Christ. 
Furthermore, it had dawned upon me that the written word lasts 
longer than the merely spoken word. Since I had used the Holy 
Bible for my daily meditation book, I decided to make use of 
that Biblical knowledge in writing A Prophetic Biography of 
Jesus Christ, This book also found favor with the people. Both 
Catholic and Protestant editors commented favorably upon it. 
The book gives the story of Jesus Christ as it was written hun- 
dreds of years before His birth. It describes the signs and the 
time and place of His birth, the conditions of the world, the 
hidden life of Jesus, His public life, and His death. It points to 
Jesus as the teacher of the world Who speaks in parables. Who 
shows mercy. Who leads as the Good Shepherd, Who performs 
miracles. Who suffers personal abuse. Who dies for us. Who rises 
gloriously. Who establishes His Church upon earth. Who ascends 
into heaven from thence He will come again to judge the living 
and the dead. Jewish converts find delight in reading this book. 

It was during a mission conducted for Catholics and non- 
Catholics in Garret, Indiana, where a question box was used ex- 
tensively, that people sought information on the establishment 
and variating doctrine of Christians in this country. Quite a 
few of them thanked me for the information I gave them and 
asked me to put the lecture into book form. The request was 
simple, but the work was extensive. I felt convinced that I would 
have to consult some of these denominations for reliable informa- 
tion. After I had made a definite plan on which to build up this 
book, and had gathered authentic information, I wrote and pub- 
lished it. My method appealed to the public and the historic 
information was received in the same spirit in which it was writ- 
ten. Christian Denominations is my most popular work. About 



forty thousand copies have been read by the present generation. 
It is extensively used by priests in their convert classes. Many 
high schools use it as a textbook, while many others use it as a 
reference work. 

In September, 1922, the Provincial of the Society of the 
Precious Blood, with the consent of the Ordinary, appointed me 
pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Ottawa, Ohio, where I op- 
ened a school a few weeks after my arrival. The Ohio State De- 
partment of Education gave me a life High School Certificate 
and, after I had finished my law course, a Chicago law school 
granted me the degree LL.B. As superintendent of SS. Peter and 
Paul School, I served the State of Ohio for eight years on the 
Advisory Committee of the Ohio State Scholarship Tests. 

In 1941, the text of the New Testament was revised. I found 
it expedient to adopt that revision in the most recent edition of 
my books. Also, I embodied in them the most recent available 

If you, kind reader, feel able and inclined to add some original 
books to Catholic literature, I advise you to do so. It gives you 
a grand opportunity to arouse noble thoughts for generations to 

editor’s note: Father KruH’s books, A Prophetic Biography of Jesus Christ, 
Christian Denominations, and A Biography of the Blessed Virgin Mary, are 
available from the Messenger Press, Carthagena, Ohio. 


Dramatist and Writer for 

BORN DECEMBER 23, 1900, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Spent his 
childhood in a quiet family circle consisting of an excellent 
father who was the ultimate of regularity and kindness, a mother 
who might have succeeded in dozens of things because she had 
drive and intelligence and a great capacity for social relation- 
ships, and a good sister who was two years older than he was. 
Attended kindergarten and the first five grades at a public school 
largely populated by meek-eyed children of German and Scan- 
dinavian descent, at which place he felt at home; and thence to 
an Irish parochial school where by temperament and training — 
and descent — ^he was slightly out of place. Sang in a boys’ choir, 
collected stamps, painted somewhat, played tag football (well) 
and baseball (poorly). To Marquette Academy for four years, 
much grinding at the classics and some academic honors. Thence 
to Marquette University where his nose gradually emerged from 
the Greek Grammar. Boy debater, orator, journalist. 

In 1922 began to teach while engt^ed in graduate work at 
Marquette University. First classes learned little, but — ^he trusts 



— ^were unforgettably amused. In 1929 a Ph.D. in Educational 
Psychology and a new job as Director of the Marquette Uni- 
versity School of Speech, and a wife. Thereafter much adminis- 
tration and teaching activity, meanwhile making many speeches, 
assisting in the organization of the C.Y.O. tor the Milwaukee 
Archdiocese, becoming Executive Secretary of the Catholic Dra- 
matic Movement, etc., etc. In February 1941 left Marquette to 
become Assistant Superintendent of the Milwaukee Public 
Schools. Loves his work, and wonders why, when many people 
have jobs they don’t like. Providence has blessed him for twenty 
years with jobs he likes. 

Always he had faith in his ability to write what people would 
want to read. Composed verse early and was stimulated by good 
teachers to produce much juvenilia most of which he burned a 
few years ago but still blushes to remember. Began his first 
juvenile hovel at the age of 22 and hammered it out at varying 
intervals for the next five years finally sending the resultant very 
messy manuscript to a publisher who accepted it. One critic 
pointed out that it was patched together. The author knew 
that much in advance of the criticisms. Thereafter wrote two 
juvenile novels for another publisher. The second being com- 
posed in the course of twenty afternoons and evenings while 
teaching summer school in the mornings. Has a vague intention 
ot beginning a long series some day, taking his characters from 
the cradle to the grave and then into the second and possibly 
even the third generation. Also some vague intentions of writ- 
ing an historical novel dealing with certain distinguished Mil- 
tvaukee families whose identities he will carefully conceal to 
avoid libel suits. 

Wrote and had published 15 plays, being impelled to begin 
because he was searching for a vehicle for a genial group of 
amateur actors whom he was directing. Sundry literary efforts 
of varying quality; is probably proudest of Some Purple Patches. 
This dramatic effort lasted for about 10 years and then was 
tabled for what reason he cannot imagine. Collaborated on a 
speech textbook which job proved an excellent discipline, a 
generous education, and a huge chore; and momentarily served 



to dry up whatever small literary effervescence was present be- 
fore and after. 

Has written many other things largely either to keep the pot 
boiling or the career moving. 

To those who would aspire to authorship he has the following 
advice to give: Editors do not publish manuscripts that exist 
only in the unseen recesses of their prospective authors' brains. 
Rejection slips are the foundation material for a great many 
literary careers. A rejection slip is less a judgment on a person's 
ability to write than on a person's knowledge of the literary 
market. In literature, as in so many other phases of living, 
the wise remark of the ancient Greek that “the greatest enemy 
of the good is not the bad but the perfect" is most applicable. 
Most young authors wait for the perfect moment of inspiration, 
the perfect theme, the perfect treatment, and perfection in 
writing materials before they write. That means that they 
never write. It is a good idea in writing not to write the 
perfect first sentence first. First sentences are always too im- 
portant, too difficult. If the young writer has inhibitions and 
writes the unimportant fourth or fifth sentence and then con- 
tinues, sometime during the process when his psychological 
drive is up and his inhibitions are levelled he will write that 
important first sentence with ease. Moreover to expect perfection 
in the initial draft of anything is nonsense. When asked why 
he did not turn to the pen to eke out a meager salary, a university 
professor once remarked, “My shame ten years from now of what 
I might write today prevents me.” Incidentally, the ten years 
previous to that remark had been sterile of any literary effort and 
the ten years subsequent to the remark have likewise been sterile. 
Newman somewhere suggests that we do today’s imperfect and 
trust that through it tomorrow’s imperfect may be less so. Per- 
fection being a direction and an ideal rather than a realizable 

Dr. Lamers’ stories for young readers indude: Bill and His Friends, 1934, 
Bruce; Joe McGuire, Freshman, 1932, Bruce; and Ned Haskins, 1932, Benziger. 
The Catholic Dramatic issued many of his plays induding* Bethlehem, 
Christ Crucified, Everyman, Oh Uncle, Prince of Darkness, and Tarcisius. 
The last work was adapted from Cardinal Wiseman’s novel Fabiola. 


Religious Writer 

AS A YOUNG JESUIT I literally hated writing — barring the dry-as- 
dust learned stufE — and “swore a mighty oath" that I would 
never put pen to paper except to compose learned tomes. I 
actually was the worst English scholar in my class though I 
reveled in Latin and Greek. 1 blame my attitude on two things: 
first, a native inclination to the “scientific'’ approach to all sub- 
jects. This was abetted by the German philological treatment 
of the classics which was prevalent at the turn of the century 
when I was taught the classics. So it was for “roots" that I dug 
whether I studied Shakespeare or Aeschylus or Horace. Sec- 
ondly, rhetoric and the art of writing were taught in the most 
formalistic way: schemes and plans and outlines and schemata, 
until one could not see the speech or the article behind the 
preparatory scaffolding. One was quite exhausted, too, after 
building the scaffolding. Moreover, it was always a long com- 
position, or a long essay, or a long sermon one had to write. The 
end result was that I determined to have nothing to do with 
such painful processes of life. 



Then, when as a Jesuit Scholastic I returned from my period 
of teaching to take up my theological studies, things began to 
happen. First, I picked up Nova et Vetera of the unfortunate 
Father Tyrrell, with its short, pithy, thought-filled half-page 
jottings. Shortly after, the great Eucharistic writer Father 
Matthew Russell died; and to this day I remember vividly the 
way the question burst on my mind as I walked down the cor- 
ridor of the Seminary: “Who’s going to take up his pen?” (At 
the moment there was no least personal slant to that question.) 
But the unhorsing blow to my militant non-authorship came 
thus. Good Father Maas, S.J., the Scripture scholar and con- 
stant writer was then Rector of the Seminary and as such gave 
us monthly conferences. In one of these — during the year 1911, 
I believe it was — ^he digressed to say a few words exhorting us 
to become writers. Suddenly with rising tones so that the last 
word was almost shrieked: “If you want to write, take your pen 
in hand and write, write, write.” It was as though some one 
struck shackles and fetters and chains off my mind. I looked at 
him amazed. “There’s the solutionl” And I went to my room — 
and began to write. 

That is where Father Russell came back into the picture, for 
I then began My Changeless Friend. I wanted to write about 
Our Lord and above all in a way to make Him loved. Why? 
Of course, there were general reasons, but I had a purely per- 
sonal one. I had been brought up in a French environment in 
Charleston, South Carolina, and that environment was heavily 
saturated with a Jansenistic view of God. 1 can truthfully say 
that my mother and father were unusually holy and brought us 
children up to know and love God. But back of it all was a 
strain of fear, of dread, which sometimes wrought havoc in souls 
most devoted to Him. So when the way was cleared for writing, 
I determined to do my part to teach men the love 6i Christ and, 
above all, its changelessness. This determination was furthered 
when I suffered a complete physical collapse shortly after my 
ordination in 1915, and was invalided out of active service for 
three years. Long periods in hospitals— one of them thirteen 
months — ^let me see human nature “in the raw” and let me peer 
deep into human hearts. Rome and Palestine had been held out 



to me by Superiors for higher studies in Sacred Scripture; all that 
was swept off the boards, and I hit the bottom of life about as 
hard as a man could hit it. Then 1 really knew what God meant 
to a soul in distress and 1 knew that I must try to bring Him to 
every soul I could reach. That is the story back of My Changeless 
Friend of which, up to 1943, twenty-seven volumes have been 
published, one a year for twenty-seven years. Sickness proved 
to be one of the greatest blessings God has ever given me. “Shade 
of His hand outstretched caressingly.” 

During my long illness I literally lived with Francis Thomp- 
son’s “Hound of Heaven,” hiding it under my pillow in the 
hospital, with the nurses’ connivance, when I was forbidden to 
read. Long hours of thinking and re-thinking led to jotting 
down and thus “The Interpretation” grew until when health 
returned there was little to do except throw the whole together 
and publish it. 

In the meantime, I had been appointed Regent of the Ford- 
ham University School of Law and Lecturer in Jurisprudence, 
the philosophy of law. There was not a single textbook avail- 
able which gave the sound rational and American approach. 
This was a challenge, as well as a need to be filled. So, in 1920- 
1921, within the space of thirteen weeks, I wrote the thirteen 
chapters of Pure Jurisprudence, Later, in 1938, with the col- 
laboration of Mr. James V. Hayes, LL.B., my friend and former 
pupil, I revised the work completely for the third edition under 
the new and simpler title. Jurisprudence. 

The early ’20’s were days of great activity for me and one spell 
of good hard work was the fight I took on against the evolu- 
tionists. Bryan and the Scopes Trial in Tennessee had thrown 
the gauntlet down. Spurred on by my fellow-Jesuits at Fordham, 
I entered the fray with “Human Evolution and Science,” and 
stayed in the ring for about twelve years, following up the 
original article-pamphlet with many articles in America, all of 
which were gathered into pamphlet form under various titles. 
It was a good fight while it lasted, and there was a lot of hard 
work in it, but much fun, too, because, you know, the name of 
of one of my grandmothers was Larkin. The evolution fight is 
off now “for the duration,” because we are much more concerned 



now over where mankind is going than whence he may have 

Of course there were articles on this and on that and on the 
other thing, to which incentive was always present because from 
1926 to 1938 I was on the staff of America, Moreover, from 1925 
to 1939, I was Managing Editor of Thought, and while I did no 
writing myself for the learned quarterly, I was in a position to 
aid older writers and to encourage younger ones. This was 
especially true in matters of Science, since I held the post also 
of Associate Editor for Science from 1933 to 1937. 

The story of my last “batch** of books. Let Us Pray Series (5 
books) and As It is Written Series (3 books) is simply and quickly 
told. It has been my lot to travel much each year since 1929 in 
the interests first of America and, later on, of the Sodality of Our 
Lady. Most of my prayers were said on trains — and trains are 
not particularly conducive to meditation. So, on a trip from 
New York to Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Chattanooga 
and Chicago in early 1930, 1 wrote my meditations on the Anima 
Christi in the word-by-word manner of St. Ignatius’ Second 
Method of Prayer. When I got back to New York I had all the 
notes, looked at them, and saw no reason for not inflicting them 
on a harmless public. It “took.” And so the seven others were 
written under the impulse of that initial success and also because 
of the need I found of simplifying meditation for young people. 
Year after year in the Sodality’s Summer School of Catholic 
Action it has been my privilege to give a course on Mental 
Prayer. Thousands of high school students have taken the 
course and have shown themselves avid for mental prayer. This 
spurred on the writing of these booklets and also called for a 
monthly contribution of a three-minute meditation to The 
Queen*s Work, and other similar monthly contributions to 
various Catholic papers throughout the world. These have been 
gathered into the pamphlets entitled Pondering in Our Hearts, 

As for experiences in my writing career, I think the deadliest 
experience for every writer is the void into which his book or 
article seems to go. Unless one becomes “famous,” one hardly 
ever hears a word about what one has written. Reviewers — ^yes. 



they say something; but that’s their job. Only one who has 
gone through the early years of writing “in and for a void” 
knows how much a line or two or a word or two of “I liked your 
article” means. It takes a lot of will-power to write for the void. 
It’s real thoughtfulness and real Catholic cooperation — ^and part 
of the communion (sharing) of the saints — to write and tell an 
author that you really liked what he wrote and were helped 

Advice to the younger generation? “If you want to write, take 
your pen in hand and write, write, write.” I have always thought 
that all that is required to be a witer (or speaker) is to have a 
burning idea that you want to tell people about — ^and tell them. 
You may fumble and stumble at first, but you’ll get there. As a 
deaf priest celebrating Mass said of the preacher at that Mass: 
“I didn’t hear a word he said — but he certainly meant it.” And 
earnestness counts, and wins too. 

Again, write short articles. Americans do not want and do 
not read long disquisitions. Just look at the popularity of the 
tabloids and the picture magazines. 

Write to people and not at them. There is all the difference 
in the world. 

Finally, seek advice and criticism. Have a friend or friends 
who will read what you have written and give you frank criti- 
cism. I count it one of the most important factors of my writing 
career that from the first days of my attempts at writing, I had 
Jesuit companions to whom I went for criticism and whose 
criticisms I took. 

One final thought: the motive of zeal. We all would like to 
help others, and to help as many as possible. If I write for a 
magazine such as The Messenger of the Sacred Heart with its 
300,000 circulation, I can count on about 1,200,000 readers. If 
I write for Our Sunday Visitor with its 500,000 circulation, I 
reach 2,000,000 readers. Isn’t it a great thing to reach so many 
souls for God? And I am reaching them for God even though 
I am using only the lighter forms of literature. 

So — “if you want to write, take your pen in hand and write, 
write, writel” 


I WAS BORN ON SUNDAY, October 14, 1906, at Schoenwoerth Castle 
near Kufstein in Tirol, as the youngest of five children. 
Loewenstein is the senior branch of the House of Wittelsbach, 
which ruled in Bavaria till 1918. The first Count of Loewenstein 
was Ludwig of Bavaria (1476-1524), son of Frederick the Vic- 
torious, Count of Palatine and Elector of the Rhine. Loewen- 
stein, situated in present day Wuerttemberg, was a Grafschaft 
(sovereign earldom) of the Holy Roman Empire of the German 
Nation. The grandson of Ludwig of Bavaria, Ludwig II of 
Loewenstein, chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire (1530- 
1611), married the heiress of the sovereign earldom Wertheim 
on the Main, of Rochefort, Herbimont, Neufchatel, and a num- 
ber of other earldoms and dominations in present day Belgium. 
He is the common ancestor of the two branches of the House: 
my own, Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, and the junior 
branch, Loewenstein-W ertheim-Rosenberg. 

Freudenberg on the Main was acquired by my great-grand- 



father in 1803. In 1806, with the dissolution of the Holy Roman 
Empire, both branches were mediatized, that is, they lost their 
sovereignty, maintaining, however, the personal rights of sov- 
ereignty, like equality with the still ruling Houses, etc. In 1812, 
the Kings of Bavaria and Wuerttemberg, bestowed upon my 
family the title of Prince, applying to all the members of legiti- 
mate descent. In 1825, the Diet of the German Confederation 
recognized the title Serene Highness. 

The branch to which I belong was mainly Protestant. How- 
ever, my grandfather, Leopold, a Knight of Malta, became a 
Catholic, and so did my grandmother. Hence, all their children 
(of whom two died as Mesdames of the Sacred Heart) and grand- 
children were born Catholic. Since then, a number of my 
Protestant cousins have become Catholics, one of them becoming 
a member of the Franciscan Order. 

My father, Maximilian Karl Friedrich, had retired from the 
German Army at the time of my birth. He volunteered when 
the first World War came, and fought on the Russian, the Ru- 
manian, and the Western fronts. He was wounded, and was 
made a Knight of the Iron Cross. After the war he took up his 
old passion for classic literature and history. He translated 
Julius Caesar’s works anew and prefaced them with a history of 
the Roman army. The work has won general recognition. He 
also published a number of poetical works and historical novels. 
Thus I have heard about writing (and all the problems it in- 
volves, — particularly as far as publishers are concerned) prac- 
tically all my life. 

My mother, Constance Valerie Sophie, is the youngest daugh- 
ter of the late Lord Pirbnght, P.C., Secretary to the Board of 
Trade, and Under-Secretary of the Colonies in Lord Salisbury’s 
Cabinet. A number of works written by my grandfather — on 
England's policy in the Far East, and on the history of Austria- 
Hungary — ^still possess a certain timely interest. 

I received my first instructions from French governesses and 
private tutors. Later I attended the gymnasia in Bamberg and 
Munich, and the Realgymnasia in Gmunden (Upper Austria) 



and Klagenfurt (Carinthia). In 1924 I enrolled at the University 
of Munich to study law and political science. 1 continued my 
studies at the Universities of Hamburg, Geneva, and Berlin, 
where I passed the Referendarexamen at the Kammergencht 
(the Supreme Court of Prussia), in November 1928. 

I wrote my Doctor’s thesis for Professor Albrecht Mendelsohn 
Bartholdy, at Hamburg University, on “A Comparison between 
Fascist and Democratic Constitutional Law.” The work was 
written partly at the University of Florence and partly at Ger- 
man libraries. I received the degree J.U.D. (Doctor of both Civil 
and Canon Law) at Hamburg University, February 12, 1931. 

From 1930 on, I was politically active to support the German 
Republic against Nazism and Communism. In July of that year, 
my first article was published in the Vossische Zeitung in Berlin, 
one of the leading democratic papers. It was called “The Third 
Reich,” and predicted another world war, should Hitler ever 
come to power. Prior to that article, only short sketches of mine 
had been published. I had also written a number of poems (the 
first, when I was six years old) and various plays. They have 
never been published, and that’s all to the goodi 

My first article in the Vossische Zeitung was followed by many 
more in that paper and later in the Berliner Tageblatt, and in 
many papers and magazines all over Germany. In those years 
it was important to fight Nazism by strengthening the moral and 
political forces of the Republic by appropriate measures. Hence, 
a number of my articles dealt with the integration of youth into 
a democracy, with the ideas for an extension of constitutional 
democracy, agricultural and social questions. 

I joined the Catholic Centre Party in that same year, and be- 
came a member of the non-partisan defense league of the Re- 
public, the Reichsbanner Black-Red-Gold. I became a founder 
and leader of the Republican Youth Movement in Berlin and 
was elected leader of the Republican Students, which had chap- 
ters at all German universities. Also I was active in the Catholic 
Youth Movement, without ever holding the office of leadership; 
neither did I ever become a leader in the Centre Party. I should 



like to emphasize these facts, since American newspapers have 
insisted upon calling me “leader of the Centre Party.’* I greatly 
disapproved with the later policy of that party, which I recog- 
nized as harmful to religion and to political life at the same time. 

I married at Palermo on April 4, 1929, Helga Maria v.d. 
Schuylenburg. My wife has shared all the dangers and ex- 
periences of these years, therefore I should really include much 
more of her biography in this sketch! 

Some months after Hitler had come into power, and terror 
stalked the streets of unconquered Berlin, we left for Austria, — 
with the idea of returning eight weeks later, when the terror 
would have abated. That is nearly ten years ago now! 

During a drive through the old battlefields of France, in 1933, 
the idea for my first book was bom. It was published under the 
title The Tragedy of a Nation: Germany 1918-1934, by Faber 
& Faber in London, and Macmillan in New York It described 
the rise and fall of the German Republic and pointed at the 
danger of the approaching second world war. Before the book 
was even published, I began writing a second, published also in 
1934 by Faber & Faber. It was called After Hitler's Fall. Ger- 
many's Coming Reich. It contains a detailed future German 
Constitution, based upon the Christian heritage and duties of 
Germany, and points towards an entirely novel social, political 
and international order. Because of this book, the Hitler gov- 
ernment expatriated and expropriated me in November 1934. 

I also began writing for English magazines, like the Nine- 
teenth Century Review, the Contemporary Review, and others. 
I also wrote for a number of Austrian, Swiss and German papers 
in Czechoslovakia. 

During my first visit to America, in 1935, the idea of an auto- 
biography was born. The book was published by Faber & Faber 
and in Boston by Houghton Mifflin in 1938, under the title 
Conquest of the Past. It ends at the German border, — ^across 
which exile began at the end of April 1933. 

I have been writing for a number of American magazines and 
papers over the years: for the Atlantic Monthly, on problems of 



world Christianity in regard to social and political questions; for 
the Saturday Review of Literature, the Commonweal, and for 
scientific journals, like the American Scholar, and the Social 
Science Quarterly. In the latter, in 1942, I published an essay, 
“Outlines of an Equitable Peace,” and another entitled “Ger- 
many’s Coming Reich.” 

In 1941, I outlined in the American Mercury a concrete plan 
for setting up a German Exiles’ Government on the soil of the 
former colony of German East Africa, to hasten the defeat of 
Hitler and to ensure to the German people its legitimate rights 
among free nations. Lately, I have also begun writing short 

In 1937, after my return from the Spanish battlefields, I pub- 
lished a booklet called A Catholic in Republican Spam. 

My fifth book was published by Doubleday Doran in 1942. 
It was titled On Borrowed Peace, — ^an autobiography from the 
moment our exile began to late summer of 1942. The book 
also contains a condensed program of German and international 
reconstruction. The English publishers are Faber & Faber. 

Meanwhile, I have made a contract with the Columbia Uni- 
versity Press for a new book. It will be a history of Germany; a 
readable one, I hope. It will show the two main trends and 
their contest for supremacy in German history: the nationalistic 
and the universal-Christian. The book is scheduled for 1943 

Since 1937, I have held a visiting professorship with the Car- 
negie Endowment for International Peace. In this capacity I 
have been teaching history, government, political philosophy, 
and international relations at many colleges and universities in 
the United States and Canada. 

When the war broke out, in 1939, we were in Europe, and to 
Europe we will return when the war is over, in order to help 
to the best of our abilities in its reconstruction. My permanent 
home, as far as I can call anything permanent, in this country is 
at Newfoundland, New Jersey. It is an old colonial house — the 
oldest we could find. We now have two daughters, the older 



one, Maria Elisabeth, born in New York, in November, 19S9, the 
younger, Konstanza Maria, born 4th of July, 1942. 

The more the years pass by, the more clearly I see that only an 
integral return to the basic principles of Christianity, in educa- 
tion, public and private morals, social and intellectual life, can 
save the world from an almost complete collapse. In the same 
spirit, the coming peace must be prepared, if a third World War 
is to be avoided. To fight for a just peace has become one of the 
main duties of my life, as I can now conceive them. 

editor’s note: Our author’s full name is Hubertus Friedrich Maria, Prinz zu 
Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, Graf von Loewenstein-Scharffeneck. His 
books include After Httler*s Fall, 1934, Faber, Conquest of the Past, 1938, 
Houghton; Tragedy of a Nation Germany, 1918-1934; On Borrowed Peace, 
1942, Doubleday; Europe and the Germans, 1943, Columbia University Press. 

McCarthy, sj. 


EARLY IN MY STUDIES as a Jesuit I became impressed by the havoc 
which mental illness was working in the lives of so many of our 
people. I was astounded, as anyone must be who reads the 
statistics which are available, to learn that one out of every 
twenty-six of our population eventually becomes victim of some 
kind of mental abnormality. I was intrigued, also, by the 
meastures which were being taken to prevent and forestall much 
of this human waste, and thus preclude the untold misery which 
mental aberrations can effect. 

On the whole, the work being done in the field of prevention 
of mental diseases at that time was laudable. There were, how- 
ever, some things to be desired from the Catholic point of view. 
First, as is often the case in new fields, numbers of pseudo- 
psychologists, without proper qualifications or training, intruded 
themselves upon the field, and their activities seriously impaired 
the work of those whose ideas and ideals were soundly based. 
Secondly, there was a dearth of Catholic writing on the subject 
of mental health — which meant all too often that Catholics, 



anxious to take advantage of the good results which were being 
achieved, were exposed to teachings and practices inimical to 
their Catholic faith. 

I was happy when, after my ordination, my superiors assigned 
me to specialize in the field of psychology. As a preparation for 
such specialization 1 took fundamental courses in medicine at 
the St. Louis University Medical School, and then went to King’s 
College of the University of London for the doctorate in psy- 
chology. Following that, I taught some years in the Department 
of Psychology of St. Louis University and, while there, wrote 
Safeguarding Menial Health, and. Training the Adolescent, 
The aim of these two books was to present a sane. Catholic 
popularization of the principles and practices which make for 
sound mental health. They were not meant to be textbooks, but 
books to which the ordinary layman might turn for guidance 
and help in his mental difficulties. 

The fact that my humble efforts were well received should be 
an incentive to other Catholic psychologists to publish in this 
field. There is still great need for a rational philosophical back- 
ground in the treatment of mental ills if our people are to avoid 
the pitfalls set for them by those whose psychology is based on 
false theories and premises with which we as Catholics cannot 
be in agreement. 

The student of philosophy or medicine envisaging a career 
might well consider the care of the mentally sick. I mentioned 
above that the number of mental patients is enormous. It will 
be increased by the strains of the war. Compared with this 
number, the number of medical men exclusively engaged in the 
treatment of mental patients is negligible. With the general 
public fast coming to see mental disease in its true light, and to 
look upon mental ailments much as they now regard diseases of 
the body, the student specializing in this field can be assured of 
plenty of work — ^work which will be both remunerative and 
highly satisfying. 

editor's note* Father McCarthy became President of Marquette University 
in November, 1936. His books include Measurement of Conation, 1926, 
Loyola University Press, Training the Adolescent, 1934, Bruce, Safeguarding 
Mental Health, 1937, Bruce. 


Current History 

BORN IN OMAGH, County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1874, 1 was educated 
in Omagh and Derry, and began journalistic work in Glasgow, 
Scotland, and Bradford, England. Going to the Far East, I be- 
came editor of The Ceylon Catholic Messenger, Colombo, and 
afterwards of The Siam Free Press, Bangkok, at a time when 
Siam lay under the menace of a French invasion from Indo- 
china. Such an invasion would inevitably cause a war between 
France and England. Consequently, when I went to Bangkok 
as sub-editor of The Siam Free Press, I found myself for the first 
time in the center of great events. My chief was not only a local 
editor but also the Bangkok correspondent of the New York 
Herald (Paris), so that when the King of Siam suddenly expelled 
him from the country on the ground that his cables to the Herald 
endangered the stability of the throne and the independence of 
the country, his sub-editor succeeded automatically to both jobs. 
But the danger was averted by an agreement which authorized 
France to “rectify” her frontier with Siam and to grab Morocco 
while at the same time permitting England to grab Egypt. 

As I had now acquired a thirst for warlike adventure, I went to 



Tokyo, where the prospects of a Russo-Japanese war looked 
bright. Working on a Japanese newspaper in Tokyo for four 
years, 1 acquired the conviction that a clash with Russia could 
come in less than six months. I wrote to that effect to Mr. James 
Gordon Bennett, offering to represent him in Port Arthur, and 
while awaiting a reply, studied the Russian language under the 
direction of Father Sergius, a Russian monk who was acting as 
Chaplain to the Russian Embassy. I also wrote to the editor of 
the Novi Krai, a semi-official newspaper published by the Rus- 
sians in Port Arthur, asking if there were any vacancies on his 
staff. The Russian editor, a Colonel Artemiev, answered hope- 
fully, whereupon I sailed for Port Arthur, and was at once en- 
gaged by the Colonel. Meanwhile there was no news from 
Mr. Bennett. But one day a Russian acquaintance casually told 
me that in looking through a pile of undelivered cables at the 
telegraph office (undelivered because of insufficient addresses), 
he had noticed one addressed “McCullagh Port Arthur."' To the 
cable office I went at once, and to my joy found that it was a 
cable dispatched several months previously by Mr. Bennett, 
accepting the terms proposed and adding that a large sum of 
money for preliminary expenses had been sent to the Russo- 
Chinese Bank. 

Before the time limit of six months had expired, there were 
unmistakable signs of war, and one day I went to Chifu, on the 
other side of the Gulf of Pechili, in order to charter a steamer 
in which to follow the naval operations. I went in a little Eng- 
lish steamer called the Columbia, which made the round trip 
every week between the two ports. But as I failed to get what 
I wanted, owing to the reluctance of English shipping magnates 
to let their vessels enter the war zone, I returned to Port Arthur 
immediately in the same vessel. However, I was not destined 
to set foot in Port Arthur again, for it was now closed to foreign 
shipping, and, in order to prevent the English officers of the 
Columbia from bringing valuable information back to their 
Japanese allies in Chifu, a three days" quarantine was imposed 
on the vessel, and her captain was strictly enjoined to remain 
anchored in the outer roads, in the middle of the Russian fleet. 
But during the night, the Japanese attacked that fleet without 



any declaration ot war, exactly as they attacked the American 
fleet forty years later at Pearl Harbor. And thus I found myself 
in the middle of the fray. What more could a correspondent 
want? Much more, — access to a free cable. But such access was 
denied me, for all communication with the shore (several miles 
distant) was prevented, and in order to render impossible a 
break-away to Chifu, an armed guard of Russian soldiers was 
placed aboard. But those soldiers were simple, kindly souls who 
were almost frightened out of their wits when the Japanese shells 
began to burst in the water close by. And so I had no difficulty 
in steering them into the dining saloon, where I provided them 
with a good breakfast and so much vodka that they failed to 
observe the disappearance of their rifles and the departure of 
the Columbia for Chifu. That Chinese port was, it hardly need 
be said, an international settlement like Shanghai, ruled by 
foreign consuls and provided with a foreign cable office, where 
no such thing as censorship existed. 

To make this long story short, when I reached Chitu that 
night, I was the only person in that port who knew that war had 
broken out. For the tough but kindly skipper of the Columbia 
had landed me surreptitiously in the ship’s boat and did not 
bring the Columbia into port until his passenger had sent off his 
cable. That cable was naturally ahead of all other detailed 
accounts of the Japanese attack on Port Arthur which appeared 
in the European and American press; for the war correspondents 
in Port Arthur were not allowed to send anything at all, and 
Admiral Alexiev, the Viceroy of the Far East, sent only a laconic 
message running to less than fifty words. 

This “beat” made my name as a correspondent and insured 
me journalistic employment for the rest of my active life. I 
represented the Herald with the Russian army till after the de- 
feat at Mukden, when I and a retreating rearguard fell into the 
hands of the victorious Japanese. 1 was brought to Japan as a 
prisoner of war, but was released at the request of the American 
Ambassador in Tokyo just in time to accompany Count Witte 
and the Peace Delegation to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 
Then 1 returned to Russia, at that time seething with revolution. 
I spent in all, ten years in Russia; but not continuously, for I 



attended two Balkan wars, two Turkish revolutions, and one 
Portuguese revolution, was in Agadir when the Kaiser des- 
patched a warship to that Moroccan port, was in Tripoli when 
the Italians occupied that African city, and traveled in every 
part of the world. I visited every country in Europe and Asia, 
excepting Afghanistan and Persia, every republic in the two 
Americas saving the Central American republics and two unim- 
portant ones to the south, and went as a guest aboard a U. S. 
warship to Honolulu, Australia, New Zealand, and some of the 
Pacific Isles which are now (1943) in the war zone. Most of these 
journeys took place after the first World War. 

During that war, 1 started out as a correspondent in Russia. 
But after discovering that it was impossible under the new con- 
ditions for a correspondent to tell an impartial story, 1 joined 
the British army and served as an officer at Gallipoli, Macedonia, 
and Russia. In Russia, 1 was a member of the Military Mission 
sent by the British Government to organize a White Russian 
Army in Siberia and eventually replace Lenin by Admiral 
Kolchak. But this attempt ended in overwhelming defeat. And 
along with a number of other British officers, I was captured by 
the Red Army at Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. These experiences 
I described in A Prisoner of the Reds (1921). This was my fifth 
book, my first being With the Cossacks (1906), an account of my 
adventures in the Russo-Japanese war; my second. The Fall of 
Abd-ul-Hamid (1910), dealt with the overthrow of the Sultan of 
Turkey; my third, Italy*s War for a Desert (1912), told of the 
Italian seizure of Tripoli; and my fourth. Tales from Turkey, 
was a collection of humorous stories told in cafes throughout 
Turkey. This book was written in collaboration with Mr. Alan 
Ramsay of Constantinople. 

While living in Japan, I had translated from the French manu- 
script of the Reverend Father Steichen an historical work called 
The Christian Daimyo, which was published during the Russo- 
Japanese war. 

After my release from Bolshevist captivity (May, 1920), I re- 
ported at the War Office which retired me from the army with 
the permanent rank of Captain and the right to wear uniforms 
“on appropriate occasions of a military nature.” I had already 



received from the King of Serbia the Cross of the Royal Order 
of St. Sava and the rank of Knight. 

In 1922, I returned to Moscow as the correspondent of The 
New York Herald, but was quickly expelled because of my 
cables on the Cieplak trial. Those cables I afterwards collected 
together and made the nucleus of a large book called The Bol- 
shevist Persecution of Christianity, This work has been trans- 
lated into Polish, German, and probably other languages. Red 
Mexico (1928) embodies the results of a journey through Mexico 
during the sanguinary regime of Plutarco Calles. 

I am asked how I became a writer. My reply is that from early 
boyhood 1 had a taste for writing and a natural facility with my 
pen which generally secured me top place in all essay composi- 
tions at school. At the age of fifteen, I had already contributed 
poetry and prose to Irish newspapers. But as I was never paid 
for them and failed to secure a place on the staff of any Irish 
newspaper, I went to Scotland where I quickly secured jour- 
nalistic employment. 

Nearly all my books were based on collections of my news- 
paper articles. A war occurred. I was in it, and while it was 
still a matter of keen public interest, I had no difficulty as a rule 
in getting a publisher to accept a book from me on the subject. 
This, I admit, is a bad system. It leads to hasty work, and means 
the incorporation in a book of newspaper articles written at top 
speed and full of unverified statements and rash judgments. 
Careful revision is out of the question, because the publisher 
fears that if there is delay, the reading public may lose interest 
in the particular attraction of the moment and turn to some- 
thing else. Every time I brought a war book to a publisher he 
said: “What a pity you didn’t bring it earlier, while the fighting 
was still going on!” 

But of course the author is not blameless in this matter, es- 
pecially if he is a debutant author. He is so keen on getting into 
print that he overlooks the question of careful workmanship and 
artistic finish. 

I am not sure, therefore, that any of my books, save The Bol- 
shevist Persecution, can be really called a book. None of them 



stands in the same class as a purely literary production which 
derives no assistance from contemporary events, and stands on its 
own merits. I have, therefore, a great respect for poets and even 
for those novelists who, like Jane Austen, disdain to take ad- 
vantage of any passing craze. I exempt, of course, from censure, 
authors who, having studied a foreign country all their lives, 
publish a book about it when it suddenly comes into the spot- 

I had the advantage of present-day journalists of having done 
most of my reporting for readers who were more or less impartial, 
so that 1 could afford to be impartial myself. American readers 
regarded the Russo-Japanese war, for example, as they would 
regard Hamlet or Macbeth: it amused them, and had no bearing 
on their lives. Even the average Russian was less interested in 
the war than he was in the Revolution which was brewing at 
home. I was, consequently, able to write so objectively from 
the Russian side that the Japanese War OflBce had my book. 
With the Cossacks, translated for use in their military and naval 
academies. I am pretty certain that they took unpardonable 
liberties with it, so as to make the young Japanese believe that 
they were invincible; but that is another story. In the present 
war, however, the war-correspondent must be a bloodthirsty 
propagandist, for whom the enemy is infrahuman, a fiend, sin 
incarnate, evil undiluted. I must admit, however, that I did and 
do see one enemy who is all those things. That enemy is Bol- 
shevism, against which the last Pope launched an anathema of 
unprecedented violence; and it gave me great pleasure to hear 
a few months ago that in a book of sermons by the late Bishop 
Toth, which Herder recently published, that outstanding figure 
of the Church in Hungary did me the honor of quoting from 
my book. The Bolshevist Persecution of Christianity. 

To the aspiring young Catholic writer I would say that, in my 
opinion, Catholic writers occupy a vitally important position in 
this Commonwealth, not only those Catholic writers who work 
for the public at large but also those whose readers belong to the 
household of the Faith. 


I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT of mysclf as a professional writer, al- 
though the impulse is there. Some ink must be in the blood. 
My first literary endeavors were in local contests sponsored by 
commercial, cultural, and patriotic organizations, later, in the 
college papers and magazines. 1 should give credit to a number 
of teachers and mentors who, during this and later periods, 
whether by advice or example, stirred my literary ambition. I 
might mention, for example. Father James J. Daly, S.J., at 
Campion College, and Bishop Francis C. Kelley, and Father 
Claude Pernin, S.J., among others. The Catholic World, which 
has been generous to many budding authors, accepted my first 
serious “article” for publication in May, 1926, on “Blessed 
Robert Bellarmine, S.J. — Controversialist.” This was during 
my student days at St. Mary's Seminary, Mundelein, when I 
wrote a number of things which I reserved for publication until 
a later date. 

Imagination was highly agitated by the wonders of Europe 
during my two years of study in Rome, after ordination to the 



priesthood at Mundelein in 1926. Upon my return, I published 
a number of articles on my observations. One of these, a story 
on the Holy Land, was accepted by The Extension Magazine. 
This led to my acquaintance with Mr. S. A. Baldus, veteran 
managing editor of this publication, who took me under his 
wing and who has remained, not only a source of sound advice, 
but a constant, true friend. Thereafter, I assumed direction of 
“The Question Box,” and “Marriage Questions” of this maga- 
zine, for a period of five years, while contributing to this and 
other Catholic periodicals, including America, Commonweal, 
The Ecclesiastical Review, The Sign, and Ave Marta, The last 
publication was always a standby in our home, and I have felt 
proud to be counted in its family of more or less regular con- 
tributors. Since 1941, I have been editing The Catholic Uni- 
versity Bulletin, and contributing editor on Latin American 
affairs of The Shield, the organ of the Catholic Students Mission 

In 1931, Father Frederic Siedenburg, S.J., urged me to visit 
Mexico. I had already been in Spain and become intrigued 
with the Spanish culture and some of the questions which it 
posed. The Mexican journey, in company with a group and at 
a time that augured none too well for the Catholic Church, 
stimulated my desire to do some work in this field, particularly 
since it had been almost totally neglected by Catholic writers. 
Subsequent trips, made possible by my vacations as a teacher in 
the Quigley Preparatory Seminary of Chicago, opened up new 
vistas in this country and in South America, as well as beyond. 
The personal inspiration of many Mexican friends encouraged 
my desire to write a history of the country, in addition to maga- 
zine articles. The result of five years* work. Men of Mexico, was 
published in 1942. I had already turned out a small volume. 
This Catholic Religion, in 1930, and an analysis of Catholic 
principles in the light of American ideals. For God and De- 
mocracy, in 1940. 

1 have never regarded my writing as an art, but simply as a 
vehicle for the expression of ideas and the conveying of informa- 
tion. A study of the mechanics of the language and a recogni- 



tion of style are of the utmost importance, but a study of one’s 
own mind, and of the world around, seems to be the stuff of 
which the printed page is made. 1 have been advised that one 
should write nothing for publication until he is forty and that, 
even then, it is a dangerous thing to do. It has always seemed 
to me, however, that, unless a person writes before he reaches 
the crest of life, he is not likely to do much of it afterwards. 
To some extent, writing is a purge of the soul; it means a dis- 
ciplining of the mind; and it should be the more or less spontane- 
ous fruit of accumulated and well ordered materials. From this 
standpoint, there is not a great deal of difference between good 
conversation, good speaking, and good writing. One has to 
prepare for all three; and we must take the risks. 

The development of Catholic writers, I think, will follow 
from attitudes and mental habits that are engendered in our 
schools and in our parish life. It is a pity that what is called 
“holy indifference” so often begets mental inertia. As a teacher 
of English and literature for several years, I constantly strove to 
develop an alertness to facts and a creative impulse to coordinate 
and express them — ^with what success, I cannot say. Through 
organization and encouragement, I have tried to stimulate the 
same alertness to what Catholic thought really is and the same 
ambition to share in its expression. The results have varied; 
but I must admit a certain thrill of satisfaction when a stranger 
tells me that he or she has read something that I have written 
or has heard of my endeavors in behalf of Catholic culture. To be 
listed as one of the workers is a real distinction. 

editor's note We repeat Father Magner’s note at the conclusion of the 
above chapter* *Tor a biographical sketch, see The American Catholic Who*s 
Who, 1942-1943.” His published books include* This Catholic Religion, 
Author, 1930; For God and Democracy, Macmillan, 1940; Men of Mexico, 
Bruce, 1942. 

S.N.D. DE N. 

(Mary Elizabeth Rich) 
Educational Writer 

ONE BRIGHT SEPTEMBER MORNING a motherless little girl, tightly 
clasping a big brother's hand, skipped along a famous street on 
Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts, to begin a scholastic career 
that, seemingly, is not yet quite finished since she is still writing 
for others who must travel the same way. I have called the street 
famous because it was “discovered" by Oliver Wendell Holmes 
on one of his rambling walks. I loved it more than he did, and 
knew its history better, since I walked its length daily to the 
Primary School at the corner of Pinckney and Anderson Streets 
and later, half its length to the Bowdoin Grammar School, now a 
Library. That street heard my laughter and saw my tears. To 
describe it, however, I must use the poet's words that I delight- 
edly came across when reading The Autocrat of the Breakfast 
Table. The poet says: “I do not deny the attraction of walking. 
I have bored this ancient city through and through in my daily 
travels, until I know it as an old inhabitant of Cheshire knows 
his cheese. Why, it was I who, in the course of these rambles, 
discovered that remarkable avenue called Myrtle Street, stretch- 



ing in one long line from east of the Reservoir to a precipitous 
and rudely-paved cliff which looks down on the grim abode of 
Science (the old Harvard Medical), and beyond it to the far hills, 
a promenade so delicious in its repose, so cheerfully varied with 
its glimpses down the northern slope into busy Cambridge Street, 
with its iron river of the horse-railroad, and wheeled barges glid- 
ing backward and forward over it, — so delightfully closing at its 
western extremity in sunny courts and passages where I know 
peace, and beauty, and virtue, and serene old age must be per- 
petual tenants, — ^so alluring to all who desire to take their daily 
stroll, in the words of Dr. Watts, — ‘Alike unknowing and un- 
known.* — that nothing but a sense of duty would have prompted 
me to reveal its existence.’* 

When I first read that paragraph m The Autocrat I laughed 
heartily and said: “Dr. Holmes must have taken that walk on a 
Sunday morning, for the street rang with merry laughter on 
school days especially when, on sleds made of hard snow, the 
girls of the grammar school coasted down Russell Street during 
the long noon hour.** We were ready and willing to begin the 
afternoon session, which invariably began at two o’clock with 
mental arithmetic conducted for fifteen minutes by the genial 
Master, Mr. Brown. Mental arithmetic and grammar had fifteen 
minutes each daily. I am still grateful for these drills which 
pride fastened well in my mind when I was asked to “Stand Fire” 
in grammar at the graduation exercises. I have never taught in 
a grade, but I can still recall our drills in grammar and arithme- 
tic. Intelligent drill pays — ^not so, mere parrot worki To my 
own teachers, both Catholic and non-Catholic, I owe the success 
of my pupils who are now doing excellent work in various places. 
May they imitate me, in at least one thing, by asking Our Lady 
to teach for them. 

Grateful for the many educational advantages offered by my 
Superiors — often at a sacrifice — before I had received an A.M. 
degree, and with sympathy for many who lacked only the letters, 
and must now teach and study also, 1 began to send articles to 
magazines. Just as 1 was considering the feasibility of putting 



my ideas into book form, the Summit opened a Notre Dame Nor- 
mal School that was inspected and duly approved. When, in 
1928, the Teachers College of Cincinnati provided for the train- 
ing of Sisters, we closed our Normal School, I for one, was sorry. 
I had enjoyed teaching Methods, Educational Psychology, and 
Art Appreciation to novices and young professed Sisters. As 
critic teacher 1 profited by what I saw and heard in both public 
and parochial schools. It was a delightful experience for me as 
well as for the novices. Some of the students had been in a Cath- 
olic grade school, I had not. A few of my experiences as a high 
school pupil may be interesting and helpful. 

On the appointed day in September, my dearest classmate and 
I buoyantly crossed the playground of my childhood — Boston 
Common — and wended our way to the Girls High School on 
East Newton Street. Time and space oblige me to confine my 
descriptions to some periods of a day the memory of which lapse 
of years has not eflEaced. Within two hours, unrealized by me at 
the time, the foundations of my teaching methods were firmly 
laid. Learning, for once at least, did not make “a bloody en- 

On the blackboard of the French room the following lines 
were neatly and legibly written. These the teacher quietly asked 
us to copy. For me — and probably for others — two copies were 
made; one on the paper, and one on my brain. The latter has 
never been effaced. Here are the words that have saved some 
beginners much time and many tears. 

Bonne nuit! Bonne nuit^ 

Loin de nous le jour s’en fuit; 

Mais, comme un flambeau celeste. 

La bonte de Dieu nous reste. 

Elle nous garde et nous suit. 

Bonne nuitl Bonne nuit^ 

The teacher told us the purpose of the words, and we gladly sub- 
mitted to a thorough drilling. We had thereafter no trouble 
with reading in French. 

At the literature period we were asked to read silently, from 



our Sketch Books, the first paragraph of “The Voyage.” I could 
not start at once because I was caught by the personality of the 
teacher. She was, I thought — and still think — an ideal English 
teacher. She was a Titian blonde, dressed in soft black. Her 
voice was what Shakespeare thought “an excellent thing in 
woman.” This teacher made a few remarks about the author 
and the subject of the selection we were about to read; then said: 
“Try to write from memory the first paragraph if you think you 
can do as well as Irving did.” I failed, but I had learned more 
than one lesson for life. 

Now a word about my last day at the public high school. The 
first year had passed pleasantly, and 1 was well into the second 
year, perfectly contented, when what I call a miracle happened. 
One morning I approached a home-room teacher, who had al- 
ways seemed very friendly, and said: “Miss Blank, I am leaving 
school today.” “Leaving school, dear, but why? Are you not 
happy?” “Quite happy,” I replied, “but I am going to an Acad- 
emy taught by Sisters of Notre Dame on Berkeley Street.” “A 
Catholic Academy? Are you a Roman Catholic?” gasped my 
lovely teacher. My eyes were opened. My pride was hurt; and 
though 1 knew I was far from being a model Catholic, I lifted 
my head proudly and answered, “Yes, Miss Blank, I am.” “Oh 
well, dear, that accounts for it. Goodbye, I hope you’ll be 
happy.” said Miss Blank as she walked away. I gathered my 
books, and left public-school life forever. I call this episode a 
miracle because from that day my thoughts were engaged with 
the mysteries of human nature rather than with the beauties of 
physical nature. I wonder if the swans and flowers of the Public 
Garden, and the trees and Frog Pond of the Common, missed me I 

My future life was shaped by what had occurred most unex- 
pectedly the Sunday before. I met a Catholic Sister for the first 
time in my peaceful life and, mirahile dictu, I sat before her as a 
pupil two days later. How it happened would make another 
story. That teacher was Sister Mary Josephine, principal of 
Notre Dame Academy, then on Berkeley Street, Boston. The 
Superior was Sister Marie de St. Denis. It was of the latter that 



Archbishop Williams was thinking when he said to a group of 
priests dining with him one feast day: “Gentlemen, if you want 
to see Humility, go down to the Berkeley Street convent, ring the 
door bell and ask to speak to the Superior.” It is hard for me to 
resist the temptation to add to this encomium. Only God knows 
what that Superior did for me, before and after she took me to 
the novitiate, then at Roxbury. But I must proceed! My first 
day in a Catholic school was a nightmare. All was so new to me 
— the perfect silence in classroom and corridors (the girls wore 
slippers to preserve the polished floors); the clicking of a wooden 
signal; the half hour prayer; the catechetical instruction; all was 
so different. If I could only return to the Public High School 
the next day! “But that is impossible,” I said to myself, “I will 
slip out, and say nothing. Father will tell me what to do.” Alas! 
Sister Mary Josephine called me into the library and said sweetly: 
“Well, dear, how do you like school?” I could not answer. I 
cried for some time, and then said: “Oh, everyone has been kind, 
but I cannot stay here.” At length Sister got me to promise to 
try one more day. I tried not one, but many days, and found the 
Sisters and girls charming. The tempter had been exorcised. I 
became so much “at home” that I was thrilled as well as aston- 
ished when, having told Sister Mary Josephine that, after gradua- 
tion, I hoped to be a foreign correspondent since I wanted to 
write and to travel. Sister said, “Did you ever think that you 
would like to be a Sister?” “I am not good enough nor learned 
enough,” I replied. The following year (without my Father’s 
permission) I went to Cincinnati and prepared to take the habit 
of a Sister of Notre Dame. I made the customary retreat with 
other postulants; but His Grace, Archbishop Elder, could not 
come to give *us his permission to enter the Novitiate until the 
day before the one set for the ceremony. A few days previous, I 
had received from Archbishop Williams a note with this formi- 
dable line: “I have great respect for the Fourth Commandment, 
and in my opinion it is your duty to return home.” Archbishop 
Elder saw this line; and Sister Superior Louise showed him the 
letter she had received from His Grace of Boston. With tears in 



his eyes the saintly prelate said to me: “I am very sorry, my dear 
child, but I really could not let you take the habit now/’ “I 
know you couldn’t," I replied, "but I will never ask to go home. 
You must decide.” “Do nothing until you hear from me,’’ said 
the Archbishop. I obeyed; and a month later. Sister Superior 
Louise received this line from him: "I authorize you to give 
Mary Elizabeth Rich the habit." Four years later, my Father 
came to see me, after having been assured by a Mason friend of 
his that I was really well and happy. My Mother’s Catholic 
friend who tried for two years to get me out of the convent, 
worked just as hard to get my Father a convert, into Heaven; so I 
forgave her. My brothers, and my brother George’s kind wife, 
generously gave my old Father the comforts and care that I could 
never have given him. He was not neglected. 

In the designs of the Good God, I was to experience the truth 
of the adage: "After the storm cometh a great calm." Fifty years 
in the classroom passed swiftly and peacefully. I cannot recall 
one disagreeable day. In the beginning, classes were small and 
one teacher unconsciously impressed her personality upon those 
capable of being impressed, and a pupil had a chance to win ap- 
plause in at least one or two of the many subjects taught by a 
Sister in a high school department. The high school teachers 
knew at least a little of each subject taught. They could dove- 
tail their knowledge and make their lessons interesting to every 
pupil. The teaching profession was in high repute, and the 
teaching Orders received many subjects. The first of my grad- 
uates to enter Notre Dame was our late Superior, Sister Jose- 
phine Mary, the only sister of the famous architect, Mr. Charles 
Maginnis. Under Sister Josephine Mary a community became 
book-lovers; and our libraries — ^and those of many pupils — grew 

Although personally almost unknown outside my convent 
walls, God has graciously permitted me to have a share in the 
training of some of America’s most influential women. I was 
graduate teacher for twelve years at the Berkeley Street Academy; 
for six years at Notre Dame Academy, Lowell, with the responsi- 



bility of a Mistress of Boarders thrown in for good measure there, 
and for another at West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. I 
had the sad privilege of assisting at the closing of my Alma Mater 
and the removal of the community to The Fenway, Boston. A 
member of the first graduating class there. Sister Therese Mar- 
guerite, is now the brave Sister Superior of our house in Rome. 
Sister Helen Madeleine, one of my Roxbury graduates with more 
courage and ability than I had, pushed the opening of Emmanuel 
College and is still its efficient Dean. The Dean of Women at 
the Boston Teachers College was one of her classmates. Would 
that I deserved, and that all prospective teachers might deserve, 
the compliment paid me some years ago by this brilliant woman 
In reply to my query: “Why do you and your classmates always 
address me as ‘Teacher* when you write? I was your teacher for 
only one year,** she said: “You not only taught, you made us 
want to learn.** This was the effect of the old method. The 
teachers knew “a little of everything and not too much of any- 

Were a young, would-be author to ask me to suggest a few 
helpful books, my immediate reply would be: “There are but 
two “musts’* — a complete Bible and a large English Dictionary. 
1 emphasize large because a book that gives but one meaning for 
all words is useless beyond the lower grades. The Bible is the 
greatest book ever written. Pagan scholars are more familiar 
with it than are many Catholics who think they do not need it. 
Few realize the beauty and sublimity of its literature, nor its 
world history. I advise you to have few books, but know them 
well. Try to build up your own and other libraries; but beware 
of mental indigestipn, and of subtle poisons. Consult “Books on 
Trial** and “Best Sellers.** The old Greek motto. Nothing too 
much is a precious one. 

Another pet theory of mine is the value of “Reading Aloud.** 
Notice that I use capitals. This method of self-improvement I 
used frequently when my brothers and their friends were en- 
tertaining(?) my poor, self-sacrificing Father with a band concert. 
I went out of hearing distance and read aloud for an imaginary 



audience several passages from the few classics we had. Some of 
these classics happening to have yellow paper covers, and such 
queer names as Guy Mannertng and Peveril of The Peak, I self- 
righteously burned thinking they were the dime novels I had 
heard my Father forbidding the boys to bring into our house. 
When I began to frequent the old Boston Public Library, I 
learned not to judge a book by its cover, and that deer and trees 
and ponds are not the only things that give one pleasure. A cul- 
tured voice is a gift of God that He wants us to improve for the 
sake of others. Volumes could be written on the advantages of a 
cultured human voice. 

In the hope of being useful to other teachers and students, and 
of fastening good ideas in my own mind I wrote articles for mag- 
azines occasionally, but my first book was The Story of Blessed 
Julie. The first part, “How Little Julie Became a Child of God,“ 
had been written by Sister Fidelis (Dolle) in whose English work 
I, when a teacher at Notre Dame Academy, Sixth Street, Cincin- 
nati, could never find a flaw. Quite likely, I was then too young 
to recognize flawsi When Sister Fidelis died, our Provincial Su- 
perior, Sister Agnes of the Cross, asked me if I could finish the 
book that Sister had begun. Believing that a Superior's wish is 
almost equivalent to a command, I replied: “I can at least try.” 
God was good to let my Superior's will, not my own, send me 
into the literary field. I decided that I would help young Sisters 
of Notre Dame to fulfill their obligation to acquaint their pupils 
with the main facts in the life of our Blessed Foundress and — at 
the same time — explain the Sacraments as I imagine Blessed Julie 
would have done. Each Sacrament must have its own clearly 
printed beautifully illustrated booklet. Make the pupils want 
to keep theirs and to show them to public school children. This 
will instill an apostolic spirit. “A consummation devoutly to be 

High Lights in Philosophy or, preferably. Everyday Philoso- 
phy, illustrates my method while teaching in the Notre Dame 
Normal School. It may not have been exactly scientific, but it 
evidently pleased the students and the State Inspector. The lat- 



ter was particularly pleased with a home-made chart consisting 
of covers of The Literary Digest. Each giving the novices a re- 
minder of some philosophical truth, induced the kindly In- 
spector to take part in the discussion. This method reminded 
me of home. My Father did not pretend to teach philosophy, 
but he often said, “I don’t want any of my boys to be lacking in 
gumptioni” This he would say when a heedless one forgot and 
turned the knob of a door away from the hinges, or pushed a 
window out instead of up to close it. 

In 1935 The Virgin Mother was published and seemed to win 
favor at once. For this I praise God. It was my thank-offering 
for the only Mother I ever knew, and I wanted others to help in 
honoring and loving her. I take this, my only opportunity to 
thank the religious and other devout readers for their zeal in 
making this book known in schools and societies. May the Vir- 
gin Mother watch over them all and their dear ones! A volume 
would not suffice to tell all she has done for me and mine. 

Presenting the Angels has been pronounced my most scholarly 
work. It certainly had cost more time and effort than any of my 
other books even though I had received for this one some helpful 
suggestions from Reverend F. X. Lasance, the devoted former 
chaplain of Our Lady’s Summit, such as: a) drop the last six lines, 
b) as to quotations from the Bible, I would put all references to 
the same in footnotes, c) at the end of the book I would add Afw- 
sal and Raccolta Prayers, d) I would add just one more chapter, 
VIZ. The Angels in Art. Why did I attempt to write Presenting 
the Angels? In the first place I wanted to honor in a special man- 
ner God the Father who seemed to me to have less attention paid 
to Him than have the other Persons of the Blessed Trinity (Re- 
member that I am not a theologian). I like to think that God 
the Father prefers to have His Divine Son receive special notice 
rather than Himself. Many noble earthly parents are like Him. 
The War is proving this. 

Bethlehem Nights was of course, written to honor the dear Lit- 
tle King, His Blessed Mother and His Faithful Guardian, to 
warm my own cold heart; and to spread as far as possible the true. 



consoling spirit of Christmas. I prayed that at least in the homes 
of my relatives and pupils it would replace some worldly amuse- 
ments and bring union and true joy to family groups. 1 wonder 
how many have thought of giving Bethlehem Nights, or a similar 
book, to a friend or a library at Christmas timel 

editor’s note Sister Mary Paula is a contributor to America, Catholic School 
Journal, and other magazines Her booklets, published by Bachmeyer-Lutner 
Co., are How Little Julie Made Her First Communion (1930), How Little 
Julie Used Her Confirmation Gifts (1930), How Blessed Julie Followed Her 
Vocation (1931), How Blessed Julie Met Her Good God (1931), The Story of 
Frances Blin de Bourdon (1936); and, published by the Sisters of Notre Dame. 
An Apostolic Order, Notre Dame de Namur (1939). Her books include 
The Story of Blessed Julie, 1929, Ad-Vantage Press; Highlights in Philosophy, 
1930, Ad-Vantage Press; The Virgin Mother, 1935, Benziger Brothers; Present- 
ing the Angels, 1936, Benziger Brothers; Bethlehem Nights, 1938, Devin- 
Adair Co. 


Poet and Essayist 

WITH GOLDEN BRAIDS flying in the wind, Margaret Miriam Gal- 
lagher, the eldest daughter of Donegal parents, used to say that 
half of her exuberant joy in living came from her Irish blood, 
the other half from her tireless love of reading. At present she 
attributes it rather to an all-embracing love of people, chiefly of 
friends, earthly and heavenly. 

Born among the Blue Ridge Mountains of Pennsylvania, 
daughter of a successful hotelkeeper and his dynamic wife, whose 
every spare moment was dedicated to consoling neighbors in dis- 
tress, she recalls little of her early years beyond the desire to be a 
nun. This grace of vocation she prayed for at her First Holy 
Communion at nine, and the same year chose for confirmation 
the name she was later to bear. 

Among the unforgettable experiences of school days in Hazle- 
ton, besides promotion in the middle of the term, were the study 
of Brooks' Mental Arithmetic, as effective surely in its results as 
any stiff course in logic; the learning of grammar, chiefly by 
parsing, without a text; and the memorizing, word for word, of 



the entire history of the Civil War. She still recalls with amuse- 
ment the Battle of the Merrimac and Monitor, beginning: 
“About noon, March eighth, the long-dreaded Merrimac, con- 
voyed by a fleet of small vessels steamed into Hampton Roads!” 

As public speaking was also strongly encouraged, she found 
herself, one Decoration Day, the only girl on the extemporized 
elevation in the cemetery with priests and war veterans reading 
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Even more embarrassing was a 
sudden summons to deliver for Bishop John Lancaster Spalding 
of Illinois, then a member of the National Labor Board of Ar- 
bitration in Pennsylvania, a speech previously given. Though 
his courtesy called the essay a good speech, she knew even then 
that it was a poor jumble of his own thoughts gathered in recess 
periods forfeited to read his Things of the Mind and Other 
Essays, for the title of the oration, given on the porch of the 
presbytery, was an ambitious one: “Why We Should be Edu- 

Perhaps it was this incident that gave her courage to mail to 
the Ave Maria from St. Gabriel’s High School, conducted by the 
Sisters of Mercy from Buffalo, what purported to be a short story. 
To which of the editorial drawers — later labeled by Father John 
Cavanaugh, associate-editor: heaven, purgatory, and hell — her 
manuscript was consigned, she has never had the least doubt. 
It deserved perdition. This attempt at writing was forgotten in 
the thrill of being offered, four months before graduation, a 
teaching position in the public school. 

A month after her seventeenth birthday, she forfeited this posi- 
tion to follow what seemed an imperative call. She entered the 
Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 
whose motherhouse is now that of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, 
Washington, D. C. 

Hardly out of the novitiate, she renewed her attempts at writ- 
ing by editing two volumes of analecta from the non-fiction of 
Canon P. A. Sheehan of Ireland. The canon, delighted with a 
purple leather-bound copy which reached him on a bed of suffer- 
ing in Cork wrote gratefully: “You have clothed me in purple 
and fine linen and I am abashed at my own splendor,” adding: 



**lt is Americans who have popularized all my books and saved 
them from extinction.” 

It was while teaching in Iowa and studying at Creighton Uni- 
versity in Omaha, some years later, that she had the privilege of 
hearing Father Francis Reilly lecture on poetry. Though he had 
at first voiced displeasure at an ambition that initially aspired to 
Francis Thompson’s “Hound of Heaven,” he finally urged the 
analyses of ten poems, later accepted by the Catholic School 
Journal. These won kind comment from several poets, from 
Brother Leo and from Thomas O’Hagan of Canada, who because 
of his interest in them and in Mercyon, the first high school mag- 
azine to include translations of Francis Jammes and other French 
poets, surprised her with a visit on his way back from Norway, 
and requested a future review of his collected poems. Among 
the poems in the studies made at Creighton was Odell Shepard’s 
poem, “A Nun,” recently reprinted in James M. Hayes’ anthol- 
ogy, In Praise Of Nuns. Professor Shepard’s courteous reception 
of the analysis — “You have told me things about the poem which 
I did not know,” he wrote — ^led to a correspondence resulting 
eventually in a preface for Sister Miriam’s volume of poetry. 

It was in Iowa also that she registered for a course in English 
Composition at Iowa University, and in return for the final pa- 
per on “A Few Aspects of Sympathy,” published in the Queen's 
Work, received more than the cost of the entire course. She was 
disappointed when the university, stating that she needed no 
more courses in technique, refused her further lessons. Although 
Professor J. Hubert Scott had told her that she was a poet whether 
she had ever written in verse or not, she did not test the truth of 
this assurance until she had returned East and was studying mag- 
azine journalism. 

One evening while she was consciously trying to manufacture 
a quatrain, one presented itself to her mind, fully groomed, pol- 
ished ad unguem, as one poet says every brief lyric should be. 
Mailed at once with a hastily devised pen-name that has ever 
since chased her through the Reader^s Guide, it seriously altered 
her evaluation of money: five dollars came to mean relatively the 
price of two sentences! When for a graduate dissertation at 



Notre Dame, under the direction of George N. Shuster, now 
President of Hunter College, she chose what seemed an unmar- 
ketable subject. “Richard Le Gallienne: Painter of Shadows, “ 
magazine editors surprised her with a check for sixty-five dollars I 

In odd moments snatched from teaching high school, from 
study during two sabbatical years at the Catholic University, and 
from a professorship at College Misericordia, Dallas, Pennsyl- 
vania, Sister Miriam wrote the poems collected as Woven of the 
Sky (Macmillan, 1940). No one was more surprised than the au- 
thor at the generosity of the critics toward this first book. A 
Benedictine called it “celestial singing”; a journalist wrote: 
“Beauty shines in every line and sings in every word”; a Southern 
priest wrote enthusiastically about the poem “O Be This Needed 

But Sister Miriam has no illusions about her brief, almost 
monosyllabic verses which she feels certain anyone with a Done- 
gal heart and mind could have done as easily. Her students 
have, she says, often given her proof of this by affording her the 
true teacher's coveted reward: that of surpassing their teacher in 
work she had helped them bring to fruition. 

The great tragedy of the young today. Sister Miriam would 
say as a teacher, is their unawareness, chiefly their ready forfeiture 
of the soul's inheritance: union with God, possible even here, 
even now. They refuse to “taste and see”; prefer the emptiness of 
the world to divine inebriation; are too timid or too indolent to 
shout “the praises of God” by sacrifices as selfless as those of 
Dorothy Day. She recalls that she herself was no less guilty for 
thirty years she merely read, not momently lived, the Imitation 
of Christ. 

This realization of the astounding and shocking gap between 
the theory and practice of our Catholic students — ^manifested not 
in lukewarmness so much as in complacent mediocrity — led 
doubtless to the founding of the Thinker* s Digest, now in its 
fourth year and nationally known, since its subscriptions reach 
over forty states, Canada, South America, Great Britain, and 
Australia. Its ideals are those of the militant George Bernanos: 
honor and sainthood. It is the hope of Sister Miriam, her assist- 



ant, Miss Beatrice Hope Zedler of Milwaukee, and the editors 
that this miniature national quarterly of spiritual reading may 
stimulate many to a nobler and more perfect life. 

If Sister Miriam could, by mere advice, influence young writ- 
ers, she would, of course, insist on the acquisition of a flawless 
technique, possibly by a reading and re-reading of the classics, 
especially Greek plays, Latin poetry, and Shakespeare. It has 
been said discerningly that a poet is great in proportion to his 
familiarity with Shakespeare. 

As of more importance, she would accentuate the need to 
widen, deepen, heighten the content of their writings by the con- 
viction, lovingly arrived at by a modern contemplative, that: 

What one is, interiorly, face to face with God. unknown to anyone, 

IS of vital consequence to the whole human race; that every mute up- 
lifting of the heart raises the whole world nearer to God. From every 
soul that is at rest in the divine embrace, radiates a spiritual vitality 
which reaches from end to end of the universe, a source of grace even 
to the least worthy of it, even to those who know nothing of whence or 
how it comes. 

Sister Miriam’s counsel to aspiring writers? That is emphatically 


I SUPPOSE IT IS TRUE that every author has a particular story to tell 
regarding the road he or she traveled to reach the point where 
they felt they had acquired — or other people felt they possessed 
— some special facility in writing readable English. In my own 
case, I have always thought that my inclination for trying to ex- 
press myself lucidly was, to some degree at least, an inherited 
trait. My own father, while never a writer for publication, was 
always ready with pen or pencil and wrote beautiful English. 
Well do I recall that, when we children were very young, he 
often amused and entertained us, not by telling stories, but by 
writing them. Many an evening, with his half dozen growing 
children around him, and with pad and pencil on his knee, he 
was wont to write for us most exciting little tales of childhood 
adventure, and rhymes galore; all being quite original and the 
product of his own imagination. 

But this was not the only thing which influenced my writing 
bent. My mother was a person of unusual good taste in litera- 
ture, and she saw to it that her children were brought up, not on 



the shallow froth for the young which is so prevalent nowadays, 
but on what were known as “the classics/* and particularly “the 
classical romances/’ We children were early introduced to 
Walter Scott’s historical novels, from which we soon plunged into 
Thackeray and Dickens, the Bronte sisters, and, a little later, 
Anthony Trollope and George Eliot. Nor was our early educa> 
tion confined to fiction. We read Washington Irving and liked 
him; his books on Spain were a joy and his Life of Mahomet 
opened for me pages of history that had been a closed book. We 
even read Addison’s essays and lots of John Ruskin; these books, 
mother urged, would teach us how to express ourselves in perfect 
English, if we ever aspired to be writers. Macaulay’s Essays were 
recommended for the same reason. I read and reread the latter 
in my days of literary adolescence with ever increasing delight; 
though It was not the subject matter which intrigued me; it was 
the “style.** 

And so you see, I really had a good background from which to 
start out on a writing career. But as fate would have it, 1 did not 
develop into a “regular writer’* as I approached my majority, al- 
though many opportunities for expressing myself opened before 
me. Born far back in 1868 as one of many children of struggling 
parents, it was necessary for me to omit college and go to work 
for a living at fifteen. And so it was that I was shunted into a 
commercial career when very young, a career far removed from 
the literary life. But I carried with me an inherent yearning for 
writing; and all through the years when growing up, many an 
evening and many a holiday were spent in trying to write ro- 
mances and studying writers like Washington Irving and Joseph 
Addison for a good literary “style.** 

Even now I can feel the thrill of the joy that was mine when 
my first story was accepted by a magazine. I was then fifteen. It 
appeared in The Boy's World, a well known monthly, and I re- 
ceived three dollars for iti Nothing that I have since achieved in 
the writing line has given me the thrill I got from the sale of 
that story. It inspired me with restless literary ambition. Al- 
most immediately I wrote another, making it very sensational 
and putting a murder in it. For that I was paid five dollars. 



Then I wrote a third, more sensational still, with two murders, 
and promptly sold it for eight dollars. The more gruesome the 
story, the higher the pay, it seemed. As I had been reading much 
of Edgar Allan Poe, gruesome tales seemed the proper thing. 
And so I wrote a fourth, this time a deep mystery entwined 
around three murders and a suicide. But that was evidently too 
much for the editors. It was rejected by three of them. I was 
so discouraged that 1 abandoned sensational fiction then and 
there. Not that my literary bent was destroyed; indeed an event 
immediately occurred which made me more ‘literary-minded” 
than ever. 

In those days there existed a country-wide organization of boys 
and girls of from fourteen to twenty, which was called The Na- 
tional Amateur Press Association. It was made up of aspiring 
young writers or literary hopefuls who, like myself, had missed 
out on college careers, but felt the itch for expression on the 
printed page. Most of them published little papers or magazines 
of from four to sixteen pages, containing their own literary mas- 
terpieces. The circulation of these small papers (often printed 
on small job presses by the editors themselves) consisted mainly 
of exchanges with one another. There were over three hundred 
of them and they were circulated in a little world of their own. 

This unique organization came to my notice through reading 
an article in St, Nicholas, a children’s magazine then published 
by Scribner. Almost at once I joined and brought out a magazine 
of my own. It was only four pages and cost me but four dollars 
per issue to have printed by an amateur printer. I wrote the 
entire contents each month, including editorials, essays, fiction, 
poems and jokes. It circulated among the other three hundred 
editors in exchange for three hundred other magazines of similar 
type, and I found myself suddenly living in a purely “intel- 
lectual” world. Some of the little papers were filled with inan- 
ities; but others were more pretentious and embraced attempts at 
real literature, with discussions of every topic under the sun, in- 
cluding religion, philosophy, the sciences, history and literary 
criticism. We all took ourselves and our talents very seriouslyl 

That was, after all, the real beginning of my writing career. 



For several years I was very active in this field, despite the fact 
that my working days were filled with labor in the commercial 
field, where I earned my bread and butter. But all the while I 
was growing older; and the time came when I felt too mature to 
stay longer with this group of children, and I attempted a brief 
venture in the regular journalistic field. But this was unsuccess- 
ful; and as I ended my twenty first year, I found myself in Wall 
Street, having been persuaded by my elders that a banking ca- 
reer was the thing for me. There I have stayed until this day. 

Still, entering the financial world was never for me an aban- 
donment of my literary tastes. I early began to write financial 
and economic literature for the banking house with which I was 
connected, and when, after another ten years, I went into busi- 
ness for myself, it was not as a banker, but as a publisher and 
writer on economic and financial subjects. As I now glance back 
across the forty-odd years which have since ensued, I clearly see 
that its ‘‘literary** side was its real side. Circumstances, no doubt, 
brought this about. The first complete book I ever wrote — aside 
from mere statistical compilations — ^was The Truth About the 
Trusts, published in the year 1904. It was a description and re- 
view of the wide-spread industrial monopolies of those days, and 
had a large circulation throughout the entire country. For years 
thereafter politicians and economists quoted it frequently, and 
it found its way into many schools and colleges. 

After that I wrote several other books of a more or less tech- 
nical nature on economics and finance; and in 1912 or 1913 two 
books of a more popular kind which we brought out by the Yale 
University Press. One was called The Railroad Builders, being 
a running description of the rise and growth of the great Ameri- 
can railway systems, from the opening of the Baltimore and Ohio 
railway in 1828. The other was called The Masters of Capital; 
it contained in popular form the stories of prominent captains of 
finance and industry, including great figures like Commodore 
Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Daniel Drew, J. Pierpont Morgan, and 
so on. These two books later ran into numerous editions, and 1 
believe, are still selling. 

However, I came in time to realize that this angle of my “writ- 



ing career” was but incidental to other activities, and had no 
permanent significance for me except as a long period of training 
for something more worthwhile. It was in the year 19S1, after 
having lived all my life as a Protestant, and in a more or less 
pagan environment, that I became a Catholic. That event, 
which I view as the most important of all my life, immediately 
had its repercussions on my lifelong “literary” inclinations. And 
so it was not long before the spirit moved me to write a real book. 
The result was The Long Road Home, an autobiography, which 
told the story, not only of my early life and business career, but 
of my long journey to the Catholic Church. It was inspired of 
course, by the joy I found in embracing the Catholic faith; but 
as for its literary quality — if it has any — this I know was entirely 
due to my early training in the reading of good English, and also 
to the long years of practice in writing one thing or another. 
But the early training given me by my parents in cultivating a 
taste for the classics and the best English literature, was surely 
the most important. 

Let me emphasize the latter fact in a little more detail. When 
first I began to try to express myself seriously on paper, even 
when writing dry-as-dust economics, the influence of perfect mas- 
ters of English, like Washington Irving, Joseph Addison, Charles 
Lamb and John Ruskin; and in fiction Thackeray outstandingly, 
was unquestioned and far-reaching. Later on, as I grew older, 
it was Carlyle and Macaulay — the first with his forceful and 
original, the second with his limpid sentences in the “grand 
style” — that influenced me most. But perhaps more than any 
other, at least during my middle life, it was the superb English 
of John Henry Newman which carried the day for me. Years 
before I had any thought of becoming a Catholic, or indeed was 
interested in the subject at all, the beautiful English of Cardinal 
Newman enticed me again and again. 

There is indeed no truer saying than that practice makes per- 
fect; that perseverance wins the day. The fault of most young 
aspiring writers is that they are too easily discouraged. They fail 
to progress because it is easier to be careless than careful. Well 
do I recall a little conversation I once had with the great in- 



ventor, Thomas A. Edison, when I was a youth and he was at 
the zenith of his powers. 1 had told him I was delighted to talk 
with such a great genius as he. He smiled indulgently and said, 
“Genius? What is your idea of ‘genius,* young man? You think 
it is a gift. No, it is not that. It is simply an infinite capacity 
to take pains.” 

That is a truism not original with Edison; many other great 
men have said it — and felt it. I often think of St. Thomas 
Aquinas, who died in his early fifties, and yet in his short life 
wrote those vast theological and philosophical tomes which few 
of us have the patience to read and study. Not only did he have 
no typewriter, but he was obliged to write everything by hand. 
What patience that must have requiredi And how did Sir 
Walter Scott produce the mass of historical romances which have 
so delighted the young generations? Day after day, week after 
week, year after year, he sat at his desk with a quill pen in his 
hand, writing, writing, writing, often a dozen hours at a stretch. 
That indeed was genius. It was genius when Newman penned 
his great Apologia, in the most perfect English of the nineteenth 
century, working at a high desk in a standing position, and some- 
times for fourteen hours at a stretch. 

“Infinite capacity for taking pains!’* That is a motto which 
every aspiring young author should keep before his eyes. In- 
deed, if one has a yearning for expressing oneself by the written 
word, correctly and effectively, whether writing prose or poetry, 
fiction or essays or history; whether exploring the philosophical 
or scientific field, or writing more directly on the theme of reli- 
gion, one must first learn, if genuine success is to come, not 
merely to think clearly and consistently or to develop the imagi- 
nation with intelligence, but to write lucidly, yet simply; and to 
be willing to try and try again until something like perfection 
is reached. 

It is said that for some authors writing comes so easily that 
revision and correction is never necessary; the words and sen- 
tences flow from the mind as fast as they can be written down. 
That may be so with some; but one is often surprised when told 
that a certain author struggled for months over a chapter which 



is so simply and lucidly written that to the reader it seems quite 
perfect and must have flowed just “naturally” from the pen of 
the writer. That is seldom true. Writers of the best and sim- 
plest English always “take infinite pains.” It is said of a well- 
known modern novelist, whose literary “style” is outstanding, 
that he rewrote one of his chapters — the one which to his readers 
seemed the easiest of all — ^no less than fifty-five times. I can well 
believe that; for in my poor effort. Fast by the Road, 1 re-wrote 
one of the chapters no less than twenty-seven times! And yet I 
doubt not it seems to most readers the easiest chapter of all. 

I am trying to emphasize these points for aspiring young 
Catholic writers, for it does seem to me that much current Catho- 
lic literature is too hastily and carelessly written. That is why 
so much of it dies aborning. All too often we are told that there 
are too few successful Catholic writers, both in the fields of fic- 
tion and fact. Is it not because so few have learned that lesson 
which men like Cardinal Newman had early learned — the need 
of patience, perseverence and an “infinite capacity for taking 

editor’s note Mr. Moody is a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of 
the Holy Sepulchre, and President of the Liturgical Arts Society. Macmillan 
published his Long Road Home in 1933 and his Fast by the Road in 1942 



MY FIRST ATTEMPT at Writing a book was at the age of eleven, in 
a penny copy-book. I lost the copy-book and lost sight ol Fran- 
cine, its heroine, for I went to school abroad. It must have been 
the most charming school any girls were ever privileged to attend 
— the English convent at Bruges, Belgium. An old Flemish 
cloister, there since the times of persecution of Catholics in Eng- 
land in the sixteenth century. There were two Books of Hon- 
our, one English and one French, in which the best school essays 
were enshrined, and one felt proud and rather vain-glorious if 
one got in. That, I feel sure, with excellent Literature classes, 
really started me on “writing.” 

But my home at Richmond, Surrey, was rather out ot the big 
world, and years — one or two anyway — ^were to go by before I 
even grasped that I might write stories for the magazines — our 
Catholic ones. It never occurred to me to think of a book till I 
had been married some time and was staying in a very lovely 
spot overlooking the Lake of Lucerne in a hotel full of life and 



what Byron called the stimulus of foreign travel. That stimu- 
lated me. We moved up to the Engadin, and there, among the 
great snow mountains and the magnificent gorge with the river 
far below, I was further fired. I wrote Lady Fanny, which had 
a considerable success. It was actually my second published 
book; but the first, Sylvia in Society — ^the title chosen by the pub- 
lisher — ^was a reprint of articles which had had quite a following 
in the old literary Westminster Gazette. Sylvia was a little 
American girl, suggested by a friend’s small daughter, and the 
articles all concerned my imaginary development of her. 

I wrote about five other novels quite unconcerned with any 
Catholic interest or aim, before a pointing in this latter direc- 
tion. An aunt of my husband’s was a Carmelite at Caen, quite 
near Lisieux, the home of the Little Flower. She wrote one day 
saying she wondered I did not use my “talent” to try to do good! 
That seemed to me, at the time, the wildest suggestion. It will 
always, I suppose, be a problem for Catholic authors. Religious 
propaganda in fiction is said to defeat its own object. So I dis- 
missed the Carmelite suggestion. But it would come back to me. 
So at last, I wrote The Town on the Hill. I was very naive, I 
think, and expected the Catholic press to come out with hymns 
of praise. 1 thought they would reward a turning from novels 
which, even if they were never anything like best-sellers, had 
always had an excellent press, — that, in fact, it would be quite a 
boon to Catholicism. ... I was soon undeceived! The Tablet, 
then edited by Ernest Oldmeadow, came down on me like a ton 
of bricks. Let Catholics leave divorce alone, said the reviewer, 
and not bring forward the difficulties of Catholic doctrine in a 
Protestant country where divorce is the law of the land. It was 
a different point of view from mine. Anyway, The Town on the 
Hill was well received by other Catholic papers and had a suc- 
cess. But not with the secular press. Writing had, by then 
(1927), increased by leaps and bounds, and the critics had their 
hands full. They were not bigoted, I think, but they had not 
much time for specifically Catholic-minded novels; or that is how 
I took it, and how it has since remained with me. So my readers 



became largely of the Catholic class; and we are a small, if influ- 
ential, body over here in England compared with America's mag- 
nificent one-in-five. But I was quite happy to go on writing what 
1 now liked to write, and if non-Catholics did read it and got any 
light on what Catholics believe and what they ought to be, and 
so often are, all the better. To my mind it was what we were 
simply obliged to do — to try to spread what we were so extraor- 
dinarily lucky as to have. 

I followed The Town on the Hill by Hylton* s Wife which, 
like most of my books, was also brought out in America by Ben- 
ziger Brothers, and which had a special recognition there as peo- 
ple seemed to recognize a well-known American priest, then sta- 
tioned in Rome, who came into the book. I think it is my own 
favourite, though one's ideas, and ideals, in writing change — and 
progress (I hope), and 1 think 1 should write all I have written, 
rather differently nowadays. 

The Kin^s Mountain I like because of the story of Madeleine 
Semer (by Abbe Klein, who is so well known in America), from 
which I took the main idea. Madame Semer died some years ago 
(1921), but her story became so much a part of my mental life 
that at last 1 embodied the Sinner who became a Saint in a fic- 
tional narrative of my own, developing and ending it quite dif- 
ferently from the real life which ends too soon, from the fiction 
angle, with the death of Madame Semer. 

Brigit was the story of the religious vocation of a young girl 
who tried human love and found it wanting. 

Night‘Of -Spring was my last novel. Going down in the Rome 
express from the Alpine Pass of Mt. Cenis, and looking upwards, 
1 saw a little house perched among goats and olive trees — ^just a 
glimpse, but once more I was fired. I must write a story of the 
Italian family, simple and Catholic who, I imagined, owned it. 
They, too, developed as any writer's people must — the father, 
who had been a waiter in Turin in his youth, wins the big prize 
in the national lottery and can fulfil his life's dream. They go 
to London (of all placesi) “through the tunnel” (of Mt. Cenis) 
and start a restaurant, as so many of their compatriots start them 



in Soho, that foreign quarter of London, in its very centre just 
behind Piccadilly Circus, where every house, to me at least, has 
the appeal of the far-off and the unknown. My simple family 
grows rich, and then poor again in comparison, and goes back 
gratefully to the goats and the olive trees and the church on the 
eminence at San Fiore. I am not sure that is the way to write — 
the following of one’s wandering imagination; but I am afraid 
I never wrote fiction in any other way. 

The only “serious” book, as distinguished from fiction, I have 
yet published, though I have written another, is God*s Jester. 
It is still selling well in America. For it is the life and adven- 
tures of a Mexican martyr well known to Americans. I came to 
write it because Father Martmdale, the great writer and 
preacher, who would have liked to do it, had given up for more 
urgent work any writing requiring research. He contrives to 
make Time as relative as modern science says it is; but even he 
can not create it. So he turned over to me a mass of papers 
which, with much correspondence with people who had known 
Father Pro, the martyr, much reading and work including the 
learning of sufficient Spanish for my purpose, I made the book. 
I had Pere Dragon’s Le Pere Pro, of which I made unblushing 
use, as I acknowledge in a post-script in my book, but apart from 
that, it almost wrote itself. Mexico, its principal setting, is so 
“glamorous,” Faher Pro’s life there under a persecution so fierce 
as to have recalled that of the first Christians under the Roman 
emperors, had as many adventures as an Edgar Wallace story, 
he himself was so gay, so amusing, — and so holy. He was a poet, 
a swashbuckler, and a martyr, in our own time, at the doors of 
America, so to speak, — ^no wonder Americans love him I 

As I said, times are changing, and have changed since I gave 
up fiction (for article writing, chiefly on the modern intellectual 
revival in France and its writers). I fancy that my “propaganda” 
writing, in as far as it was that, was too apparent, and that young 
writers of today, however zealous for the Church and the return 
to Christianity of out time, would do better to write with more 
guile than I did. The underlying principles are what count in 



the sincere, ivholesome, uplifting and not dragging-down, books 
the world needs; and that young Catholic Americans will, one 
has no doubt, produce. They are “one-in-five” of the great Ameri- 
can nation. They have a great opportunity. 

editor's note* Mrs. George Norman is the pen name of Mrs. Melesina Mac- 
kenzie Blount, who now lives in Northam, North Devonshire, England. Her 
better known books, all published by Benziger Brothers, are Brigit (1930), 
God*s Jester (1930), Hylton*s Wife (1929), The Town on the Hill (1927). 
Hurst, in London, published King’s Mountain (1931) and Night of Spring 
(1933). With her sister, Margaret Mackenzie, she wrote the three-act play. 
Young Visitors, based on the novel witn that title by Daisy Ashford. It was 
published (1936) by French. 

AS I LOOK BACK to the influences which awakened in me a love of 
literature and aided me in establishing a sense of companionship 
with great authors, I find my mother occupying the first place. 
A school teacher for many years, mother found a delight in read- 
ing and in quoting choice pieces of literature. Poetry particu- 
larly appealed to her, and a retentive memory aided her in mak- 
ing many of the poems her permanent possession. 

She established the custom of family reading. Among my ear- 
liest memories is that of father reading aloud after the supper 
table was cleared, while mother sewed and the children listened. 
This was my first introduction, while still a child in the grades, 
to Ben Hur, then in the heyday of its popularity. 

Born of a devout mother, Elizabeth T. Powers, and of John 
F. O'Brien, a devoted father, on January 20, 1893, in Peoria, 
Illinois, I attended St. Patrick's School, conducted by those great 
educators, the School Sisters of Notre Dame. My high school 
education was under the Brothers of Mary at Spalding Institute, 
where by the dint of unflagging labor I edged out by the nar- 



rowest of margins my two more gifted rivals, Earl Ruhaak and 
Louis Meyers, for the valedictory. The Brothers were excellent 
teachers and quickened the interest of their pupils in the reading 
of great books. 

As a youngster of seventeen, I travelled a thousand miles to 
study the classics under the Jesuits at Holy Cross College, Worces- 
ter, Massachusetts, where Latin and Greek were emphasized 
so much that I found myself studying even English out of a Latin 
text, Kleutgen’s Ars Dicendi et Scrtbendt. Perched in a room 
high in O’Kane Hall, overlooking one of the largest textile mills 
in New England, 1 spent my leisure hours in the reading of an- 
thologies of prose and poetry. It was the best antidote I could 
find for the nostalgia that bit deeply into the heart of a lonesome 
boy who was spending in far off New England his first year away 
from home. 

I had already sent my application to Notre Dame when Father 
John P. O'Mahoney, C.S.V., the youthful President of St. Viator's 
College, called with my pastor. Bishop P. J. O'Reilly, and told us 
of the splendid educational facilities built up at Bourbonnais. 
Thither I went that fall to study philosophy. There I came 
under the influence of Father William J. Bergin, C.S.V., whose 
exposition of the philosophta perenms held us all enthralled. 
It was the beginning of a friendship which was destined to exer- 
cise a deep influence upon my life. A great student of Orestes 
Brownson, Father Bergin was a profound thinker and an inspir- 
ing teacher. He was later to become my associate at the New- 
man Foundation at the University of Illinois, and many of the 
problems treated in my writings were threshed out with him. 

Tied with Timothy Rowan upon graduation for honors in 
philosophy, I was lucky to win the toss for the coveted Philos- 
ophy Medal. During ray senior year, I founded intercollegiate 
debating at St. Viator's and was fortunate enough to lead our 
first team to victory over Notre Dame University in their own 
Washington Hall. In those days, Notre Dame's reputation in 
forensic oratory was scarcely second to her fame on the gridiron; 
so the victory was celebrated with a holiday and with much jubi- 
lation on our campus. I was a second stringer on the football 



team that went over to Notre Dame to do battle with a powerful 
Irish squad that included Rockne, Dorais, Erchenlaub, Pliska, 
Philbrook, and Dimmick. The score? I would prefer not to be 
too specific, other than to say that their victory in football was 
much more overwhelming than was ours in debate. 

After five years of study with the Clerics of St. Viator, I 
achieved my first great goal, the holy priesthood. Ordained by 
Bishop Dunne in St. Mary’s Cathedral, in Peoria, I celebrated 
my first Holy Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, on June 18, 1916. It 
was among the happiest days of my life. 

After a year in post-graduate work at the Catholic University 
of America under Drs. Pace, Shields, and Kerby, I was appointed 
to the chaplaincy of the Catholic students at the University of 
Illinois. It was a post established in response to the petition of 
students and with the financial support of the State Council of 
the Knights of Columbus. As the Catholic student body in those 
early days was less than three hundred, I was able to complete 
my studies for the doctorate, being the first priest to receive a 
Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois. For twenty-two 
years I ministered to the social, cultural and spiritual needs of 
the student body, erecting for them a Newman Foundation com- 
prising Church, Social Centre and Residence Halls accommodat- 
ing some 325 men students. 

It was an intensely busy ministry, and I found myself working 
till midnight — ^sometimes doing my writing after the clock had 
struck twelve and the telephone had ceased to ring. The thou- 
sands of Catholic students whom I came to know and to love, 
responded generously to the opportunities opened up for their 
religious growth and welfare, and made their pastor feel proud 
of them. More than 300 converts were received into the Church 
and some 500 additional non-Catholics received systematic in- 
struction in the Faith, which in God’s good time will bear its 
rich measure of fruit. 

Up to the time of writing my doctor’s dissertation, I had pub- 
lished articles in college journals and in a couple professional 
magazines. The work of organizing all my findings on methods 
of developing habits of rapid, silent reading and of presenting 



them in book form proved enormously helpful to me in my sub- 
sequent literary efforts and was perhaps chiefly instrumental in 
launching me upon the writer’s sea. My dissertation was pub- 
lished by Macmillan under the title Silent Reading, and for a 
technical study had a surprisingly large sale among the teaching 
profession. This was followed a few years later by a more gen- 
eral study which was written upon request, and was called Read- 
ing: Its Psychology and Pedagogy. 

My findings as to methods of speeding up the reading rate as 
well as improving the comprehension, attracted wide attention 
and brought me an invitation to set them forth in an entire 
chapter of The Yearbook for the Scientific Study of Education. 
This was followed by an invitation to embody them in a series 
of Readers, resulting in the Cathedral Readers. The series rap- 
idly became the most widely used readers in the Catholic schools 
of America — their sales reaching several million, thus establish- 
ing a new record in this field. 

My interest in convert work led me to invite leaders in this 
field to detail their methods, which I published in the sympo- 
sium, The White Harvest. In it, I endeavored to work out a 
carefully integrated technique to guide priests in the twofold 
task of reaching prospective converts and of instructing them. 
It was the first systematic effort to make the experience of the 
leaders in this field available for every fisher of souls, and 
aroused wide interest among priests and seminarians. It has 
gone through four editions, and is widely used as a text in semi- 
naries. Since its publication, the average number of converts 
per priest in America has doubled, and I think that this pioneer- 
ing study has been under God’s Providence no small factor in 
that growth. 

Many of the religious difficulties of the students centered 
around the problem of evolution, causing me to read extensively 
and to study intensively on this subject. The results of some 
twenty years of study and research I published in Evolution and 
Religion. It received wide acclaim from scientists and philos- 
ophers, of such varied schools of thought as William Ernest 
Hocking, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Robert Andrews Millikan, 



Edwin Grant Ck>nklin, as well as from reviewers in Catholic 
journals. It embodies probably the hardest work and the most 
rigorous thinking I have done. But, alas and alack! It has 
achieved but a disappointingly meagre sale — perhaps because of 
the limited number who have the background in philosophy and 
in science, as well as interest in the problem, to read it and to 
understand if. 

Believing that there was a need for a volume which presented 
the teachings and the credentials of the Catholic Faith, not only 
in the light of the Bible, but also in the light of modem thought 
and science, 1 undertook the preparation of such a work. After 
more than fifteen years of writing. The Faith of Millions ap- 
peared. Its success was as instantaneous as it was phenomenal. 
It swept the country like wildfire, being a consistent best seller 
among religious books each year since its appearance in 1938. 
In 1942, its sale had passed the 130,000 mark and translations of 
it have appeared in French and Spanish, with preparations un- 
der way for its publication in German, Polish and Hungar- 

The severe depression, beginning in 1929, rendered more 
acute than ever the problem of birth control. Seeking to afford 
guidance and relief for hard pressed parents, and to show the 
harmony of Christian ethics with the findings of gynecological 
science, I wrote Natural Birth Control. This treatment of a 
delicate and difficult theme is not for indiscriminate sale, but is 
made available by our Sunday Visitor Press only for those who 
have a legitimate need for the book. 

The lectures in the philosophy of religion which I had occa- 
sion to give for some twenty years in the Newman Foundation 
caused me to write Religion in a Changing World. Believing 
too that there was a great paucity of Catholics in the fields of 
science, literature and eminent scholarship, I sought to remedy 
that condition, at least in part, by bringing out a symposium. 
Catholics and Scholarship. In it various scholars speak with 
refreshing candor upon the methods that will bring more of our 
talented coreligionists to the mountain peaks of creative scholar- 
ship. Aspiring writers can find no more helpful pointers than 



those given by Reverends Daniel A. Lord, SJ., Francis X. Tal- 
bot, S.J., and Monsignor Matthew Smith in that book. 

In 1939 I was privileged to end my labours at Illinois with a 
year of European travel and research at Oxford University and 
then to join the faculty of Notre Dame University. While at 
Oxford I wrote Thunder from the Left, a story of Communism 
in action. It embodies the results of research work in Spain 
shortly after the close of the Civil war. 

I endeavored to bring out the opportunities and problems of 
the priestly ministry arising from the rapidly changing condi- 
tions of modern social life in The Priesthood in a Changing 
World. The entire edition was quickly exhausted and St. An- 
thony’s Guild has just brought out a new and revised edition. 
My Pathways to Happiness and The Church and Marriage, have 
been made available for study clubs and the general trade by 
Our Sunday Visitor. 

Of all my books, the one which I am probably the fondest is 
the smallest of all — The Power of Love. In it I try to echo the 
most important and the most insistent note in all the teachings 
of Christ, namely, the law of a universal love which washes away 
fear and embraces even one's enemies. It is the essence of Chris- 
tianity and the unfailing mark of the disciple of Christ. 

Of the seventy pamphlets I’ve written. Character Formation 
and God; Can We Find Him? — ^both written since my coming to 
Notre Dame — have received perhaps the widest acclaim. In the 
first five months the one on God, which Fr. Gillis, C.S.P., re- 
viewed so generously, has gone through four printings and prom- 
ises to reach new heights for a pamphlet of a scholarly character. 

There are two utterances emphasizing the far-reaching influ- 
ence of the written word, which have held me for long hours at 
a time to my lonely, unglamorous writing-desk when invitations 
for oral addresses might have lured me aWay. The first I read 
when but a student in college on the window of Brentano's Book 
Store in Chicago: 

Verba orata volant, verba scrtpta manent. 

The second is the lines of Lord Byron: 



Words are things, and small drops of ink. 

Which, falling like dew upon a thought. 

Makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. 

All my writing has been done to meet keenly felt needs and in 
answer to problems challenging the insight and intelligence of 
our day. All my publications, whether in large books or in slen- 
der pamphlets, I have sent out with the humble prayer that they 
might serve amidst the confusions of our age as little lighthouses 
in the great sea of time. 

What suggestions would I make to aspiring young writers? 
They would be these: Be sure you have something worthwhile 
to say and then say it in the clearest way. I think of style not as 
something to be cultivated independently of the thought one is 
expressing, but as a quality and by-product of the thought itself. 
Let the emphasis be upon the effort to express the thought accu- 
rately and clearly. I agree with Carlyle when he said: "If a book 
come from the heart it will contrive to reach other hearts. . . . 
All art and authorcraft are of small account to that." The sec- 
ond suggestion: There is no royal road to the art of good writ- 
ing. There is only the hard way of persistent effort and of a 
perseverance that never flags. 

editor’s note Father O’Brien's books include The Church and Marriage, 
1934, Courtney Co., Fort Wayne; Evolution and Religion, 1932, Appleton; 
The Faith of Millions, 1938, Our Sunday Visitor Press; The Power of Love, 
1938. Paulist Press; The Priesthood in a Changing World, 1936, Kenedy. 



By Rev. Charles M. Carey, 

THE o’donnell CLAN, according to the best Irish legends, partook 
in no small measure of the atmosphere of that stormy but pic- 
turesque seacoast county which nourished it. For all their stead- 
fastness in the Faith these Irish people paid dearly; but the little 
fire that escaped their persecutors became a world-wide confla- 
gration. And it was from these heroic ancestors that Charles L. 
O’Donnell descended, thoroughly Irish and thoroughly Catho- 
lic. Both his father and his mother possessed the same surname 
before marriage, and both were natives of Donegal. With much 
good reason, was their offspring to write later of their birthplace: 

There was my father born, and there 
My mother's cheeks weie red. 

And blessed with sacred rite and prayer 
Sleep all my kindred dead. 

The story of this gallant ancestry stirred the poet deeply. The 
visions of his own forebearers slinking along hedgerows late at 
night, or tramping over the bogs early in the morning, to attend 
Mass in hovels, in caves, and on mountainsides, imbued him 



with a deep sense of responsibility for the preservation of the 
Faith, and contributed in no small measure to his priestly zeal, 
prompting him to say when speaking of the obligation to hear 
Sunday Mass: 

**With these great traditions behind us — is it possible that ease, lux- 
ury, pride, and social ambition in this day and generation, can bribe out 
of our heart what persecution and starvation and death would not take 
out of theirs?” 

His mother, Mary O’Donnell, was born and reared in the little 
village of Killybegs. Up the road, a distance of “seven Irish 
miles,” came his father from Ardara. Struck by both the spirit 
and the necessity of emigration, they arrived in America, looked 
Westward with the hardier souls, and settled in Greenfield, In- 
diana. It was there, on November 15, 1884, that their youngest 
son, Charles Leo, was born. 

From all external appearances, neither the parents nor the 
children were remarkable for any particular reason. Travel ex- 
cursions were few and undertaken only at rare intervals. Life 
about the child was simple and regular, combining high Catho- 
lic thought with the hardy mode of a settler’s existence in the 
rich but rugged soil of Indiana. For all the miles that separated 
these exiles from their quaint villages in dream-lit Donegal, it 
made little difference when evening came and they had gathered 
about the family hearth. It was in this uneventful atmosphere 
that Charles O’Donnell passed the first years of his life. His only 
claim to renown was, very likely, the fact that he had for his 
neighbor the celebrated Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, 
and that he often went wading in the famous Brandywine creek 
which ran through his father’s property. The child was not par- 
ticularly handsome in appearance, nor unusually attractive in 
manner. Rather, he was pleasant and possessed of a modest re- 
serve. He took part in all the games of his companions and just 
as often went fishing in the neighboring stream. It was not until 
he moved with his family to Kokomo, that he began his educa- 
tion at the parish school under the guidance of the good Sisters 
of St. Joseph. They found him keen and intelligent. Even then 



he gave promise of fine personal qualities, and a natural leaning 
to piety — ^so much so that the old pastor, whom Charles fre- 
quently accompanied on trips through the neighboring country- 
side, read the young boy’s heart, spoke to him of the priesthood, 
and encouraged him to enter the religious family of Holy Cross. 
And so it was that in the fall of 1899, at the age of fourteen, that 
Charles O'Donnell walked into his new home and his new life 
at Notre Dame. 

Life in the Seminary was pleasant, though arduous. The su- 
perior, Father John Cavanaugh, was a holy priest, an excellent 
preacher, a charming personality, and therefore very much of a 
model for the young minds to study and to imitate. The prepar- 
atory years slipped by rapidly, revealing a boy who made rapid 
intellectual progress, who was interested in every phase of life 
about him, who was adept at handball, a sturdy fullback on the 
football team, and an excellent hiker on long jaunts through the 
neighboring countryside. His year of novitiate found him eager 
and zealous to advance in the art of Christian perfection. His 
collegiate years produced an excellent debater, the honor student 
of his class, and the first faint glimmerings of the poet who di- 
vided his lyrical excellence between flights into genuine poetical 
atmosphere and the wholesome but questionable practice of 
composing doggerels and limericks in Logic classes. 

After graduating from Notre Dame, he devoted the next four 
years of his life to Theology at Holy Cross College, in Washing- 
ton, D. C., and to an intensive study of English at the Catholic 
University there. In 1910 he was ordained priest, and likewise 
received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with a thesis based 
on the prose works of Francis Thompson. Later in the same 
year, he pursued a graduate course at Harvard. By this time his 
name had become a familiar one to the editors of the better mag- 
azines of the day. And on his return to Notre Dame as Professor 
of English, he continued his writing and published his first vol- 
ume, The Dead Musician, in 1916. The book was distinctive, 
and told the literary watchers on the hilltop that a new star had 
risen in the firmament of Catholic literature. Here was the 



strong, clear voice of an authentic poet who lifted his songs and 
his notes to the highest reaches, yet remained delicately reticent 

Then came the war years, and Father O’Donnell volunteered 
as a Chaplain, was assigned to the Rainbow Division, and worked 
side by side with Father Francis P. Duffy of the “Fighting Sixty- 
Ninth’’ during some of the bitterest engagements in which Amer- 
ican troops took part. Later, he was sent to Italy with a detach- 
ment of Americans destined for the Austrian front. On his 
return to the States after the Armistice, he once more settled 
down to the life of the campus at Notre Dame, both as Professor 
of English and as Prefect of Religion. 

Father O’Donnell was, in the opinion of those whom he 
taught, a remarkable English professor. Boisterous prep stu- 
dents remember him as a man of dignity whom it was sacrilegious 
to annoy and fatal to affront. Better still, they remember him 
for his humor which was quick and subtle and rich, and for the 
singular magic which he employed in unfolding the story of lit- 
erature to them. No one ever left his class without a respect, if 
not an enthusiasm, for poetry. To hear him read from “The 
Ballad of the White Horse’’ was unforgettably thrilling. 

In appearance, he was a man of medium heighth and a robust 
constitution. Though gifted with heavy bushy hair, his fore- 
head gradually loomed high and intellectual. The nose was well 
chiseled though not conspicuous, the lines of his face were ascetic 
yet florid. His eyes loomed cavernous and penetrating; his thin 
lips were taut with discipline. About him there was a reserve 
that it would not do to overstep; it was obvious, however, that 
he was a man of culture — a culture easily expressed in his com- 
mand of idiom and mastery of the language. Intonation, ca- 
dence, the modulation of a beautiful voice and diction; and 
withal, a simplicity that is characteristic of great men. He rarely 
laughed aloud, yet he was a great mimic and an extremely comi- 
cal storyteller. 

In 1920 he was elected Provincial of the Congregation of Holy 
Cross. In 1926 he became Assistant Superior General, and in 
1928 was appointed President of the University of Notre Dame. 



In all these executive positions he revealed a rare capacity for 
discernment and leadership. He nevertheless continued to write 
at the rare intervals of leisure snatched from his busy life. Thus 
in 1922 appeared Cloister which, from the literary point of view, 
revealed confidence, and gave assurance that his genuine fire had 
flamed into masterful craftsmanship. In 1928 came A Rime of 
the Rood which assuredly fixed his star in the sky and revealed 
him as the leading Catholic poet of our day. It likewise proved 
his thesis that poetry is a sacred thing, for herein Father O'Don- 
nell dealt with life in its most sacred aspects and aspirations, 
employing all the power, force, and charm of the consummate art- 
ist who is sensitive to the magic of phrasing, tenderness of feeling, 
and exquisite shadings in color and form. The volume accorded 
him a first place in modern English verse — so distinctly that even 
the London critics waxed enthusiastic. The Times Literary 
Supplement (London) noted* 

“There is a long array of new names, these days, a monotony of 
mediocre work, and a weary echo of the talk of dever young people in 
America But in the poetry of Charles O’Donnell, we strike work of a 
very different order.” 

The Green Quarterly (London) admitted 

“It is genuine poetry of a deeply spiritual and devotional character 
— ^a rare quality which does not often come oui way ” 

In the estimate of the critics, here was a man who had the poet's 
insight and vision, who also had the human touch which will 
make people return to him again and again after a first reading. 
This distinction was due in no small measure to the fact that he 
wrote and sang in perfect taste of sacred things, and was one of 
the small band of modern poets who delicately and entrancingly 
find the essence of supreme song in Christ's life on earth. James 
Rorty, writing in the Nation, confessed: 

“It is a little startling for me, as a non-Catholic, to be obliged to 
admit that one of the few books of beauty and power I have read in 
recent years is the poetry of this Catholic mystic.” 

Father O'Donnell's concept of poetry is one of significant 
thought linked with a severely disciplined craftsmanship. His 
use of monosyllabics is amazing, revealing as it does a certain 



intellectual humility as well as a thorough mastery of his art. 
The central source of his inspired singing is, of course, the Incar- 
nation, the tremendous belief that God became Man and is Man, 
and that in Christ a Man is God. Again and again he comes 
back to that theme, not as a matter for preachment, but as the 
essence of supreme song. He was the poet of the Incarnation in 
our day. 

Father O’Donnell died in 1934, at the age of forty-nine, just 
as he completed his term as President of the University of Notre 
Dame. He is buried in the little Community Cemetery there 
where he lived and labored for so many years. A simple iron 
cross marks his grave in the little plot surrounded by the oaks of 
which he once wrote: 

, . When I go otherwhere — 
An unretuming journey — I would leave 
Some whisper of a song in these old oaks» 

A footfall lingering till some distant summer 
Another singer down these paths may stray — 
And may remember that I passed this way 

editor’s note: Father Carey, who wrote this chapter expressly for The Book 
of Catholic Authors, is a nephew of the poet, a new edition of whose works 
he has prepared for publication: The Collected Poems of Charles L. 0*Don- 
nell, C.S,C., 1942, The University Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. 



WRITING F<» PUBLICATION was a late development in my span of 
life, which passed the half-century mark several years ago. The 
new turn was made in 1930, when I matriculated at the Catholic 
University of America in Dr. Guilday’s course of American 
Church History. The purpose in taking this course was not so 
much to prepare for writing as to obtain a better foundation for 
the history I was to teach at St. Lawrence College, Mount Cal- 
vary, Wisconsin. In the course of the years this minor seminary 
had acquired an enviable reputation for the thorough prepara- 
tion it gave to young aspirants of the priesthood among the secu- 
lar and religious clergy; but the changing times demanded a 
greater intensification of preparation for those deputed to teach 
in its halls. Since 1 had been on the teaching staff for eleven 
years and there was reasonable expectation that I would be re- 
tained for some time to come, the plea for an opportunity to 
widen my field of knowledge found a favorable hearing with my 
superiors. They realized that my previous training had not been 



directed to teaching. It had been the ordinary preparation for 
the priesthood. 

Having been born at Appleton, Wisconsin, I first attended St. 
Joseph’s School of that city together with about six hundred 
other pupils. The School Sisters of Notre Dame were my teach- 
ers in the first six grades; Mr. Engelbert Schueller conducted the 
classes for us boys in the seventh and eighth grades. Both the 
sisters and the lay-teacher imparted a very thorough training in 
the elementary subjects. The Capuchin Fathers in charge of the 
parish came to the school regularly for the religious instructions. 

During the last year in school I joined a group of six boys, to 
whom the pastor of the parish. Father Lawrence Henn, O.F.M. 
Cap., was trying to impart the rudiments of Latin in preparation 
for the priesthood. Five of this group eventually reached their 
goal. Together we entered St. Lawrence College, Mount Cal- 
vary, Wisconsin, conducted by the Capuchin Fathers, to con- 
tinue our studies. At the end of the course the others went to 
major seminaries; 1 took the religious habit in the Capuchin 
novitiate at Detroit. 

Upon the completion of the year of novitiate and the pro- 
nouncement of the vows, I attended in succession the courses of 
philosophy and theology at Holy Cross Friary and St. Francis 
Friary in Milwaukee. During the theological studies Father 
Benno Aichinger, O.F.M.Cap., our director, continually im- 
pressed upon us the necessity of putting our thoughts upon 
paper concerning the subject-matter of the classes and other 
topics which would be useful in later life. It was an eminently 
practical method of developing ease in expression. He also af- 
forded us the opportunity and the satisfaction of having short 
articles printed in a small periodical that was then published for 
the Colored Catholics in Milwaukee. On special occasions we 
composed poems, dissertations and speeches to be delivered at 
gatherings of the community. 

Following ordination to the priesthood by the Most Reverend 
Sebastian G. Messmer in 1913, I was put into the practical min- 
istry for two years and was then sent to St. Lawrence College as 
a teacher. Much was presupposed in the teachers of those days 



and much was required of them, but we seemed quite successful 
in the branches assigned to us because we put our whole souls 
into the work. 

As already stated, the opportunity for more intensive prepara- 
tion came in 1930. During the first year at the Catholic Uni- 
versity of America my principal interest lay in the field of Ameri- 
can Church History, although I was also attracted by the classes 
in American history by Dr. Stock, in education by Dr. George 
Johnson, in anthropology by Dr. Cooper. In his seminar. Dr. 
Guilday pointed out the wealth of material concerning American 
Church History contained in the Berichte of the Leopoldinen- 
Stiftung, of which an almost complete set had been obtained by 
him for the Mullen Memorial Library of the university. My 
knowledge of German now came in good stead. Many a time I 
looked back in gratitude to my parents who, although they spoke 
English fluently, had commonly used the German language at 
home. My mother had been bom in this country, my father had 
been here since he was an infant of a few months. Except for 
the use of German in their homes, English had been their means 
of communication from their early years. Yet they used German 
within the household without minimizing the importance of 
English. In consequence of this knowledge of the German lan- 
guage, my research was most profitable and resulted in the M.A. 
dissertation. The Leopoldine Foundation and the Church in the 
United States (1829-1839). It was published by the United 
States Catholic Historical Society of New York as part of Mono- 
graph Series Xlll. This preliminary work on one of the mission 
societies whetted my appetite for a more thorough understand- 
ing of all the mission societies that had given generous alms to 
the growing Church in the United States and had left these 
monuments of charity recorded in their publications. 

Upon the advice of Dr. Guilday, my superiors permitted me 
to spend the second year of graduate study at the Catholic Uni- 
versity of Louvain, Belgium. Brushing up the knowledge of 
French acquired in high school, I was able to follow quite intel- 
ligently the classes of such competent instructors as Dr. De 
Meyer, Dr. Van der Essen, Viscount Terlinden, Dr. Van Cauwen- 



burgh and Dr. Lefevre. In the course of the year an opportunity 
afiEorded itself of visiting various places in Belgium, England, 
Ireland, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, and becoming 
better acquainted with the background of European history. 
More important was my visit to the archives of the Ludwig- 
Missionsverein in Munich, where I spent more than a month 
noting and extracting every letter sent to this society by bishops, 
priests, religious and laymen of the United States. There were 
about 2,300 such letters extending over a period of eighty years. 
Upon return to the Catholic University of America in the fol- 
lowing year, this material, together with the letters contained in 
the Annalen of the society and preserved in the library of the 
university, formed the basis of my doctoral dissertation. The 
Ludwig-Missionsverein and the Church in the United States 
(1838-1918). It was published as volume xvi of The Catholic 
University of America Studies in American Church History, and 
was reprinted as volume xii of Franciscan Studies. 

With the resumption of duties at St. Lawrence College, I had 
ample opportunity to utilize my newly acquired knowledge in 
the classroom. Although little spare time remained, I was able, 
during the next three years, to collate, translate and edit with 
notes the letters that had been sent by the early superiors of the 
Calvary Capuchin Province of St. Joseph to the mission societies 
at Munich and Vienna. This matter appeared as Pioneer Capu- 
chin Letters in the year 1936, and comprised volume xvi of Fran- 
ciscan Studies. During this same period I also wrote twenty-two 
articles for the Seraphic Chronicle under the general caption 
“With European Capuchins.” In them I sketched my impressions 
and experiences during the visits to the Capuchin friaries in 
various countries of Europe. Two articles of missionary import 
were published in German periodicals. The work of the mission 
societies was developed for the Commonweal and Salesianum. 

During the next three years, 1936-1939, little opportunity 
offered itself for literary activity because I was kept very busy as 
guardian of the friary at Mount Calvary and as one of the four 
councillors of the Father Provincial, in addition to the work in 
the classroom. When relieved of these positions, my attention 



was attracted to a more pretentious work. It had occurred to 
me in the course of my studies that little was definitely known 
by the general Catholic public in the United States concerning 
the large amounts of alms that had been sent to this country by 
the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Ludwig-Mis- 
sionsverein and the Leopoldinen-Stiftung. The sources were 
available. Consequently I set about collating this material. In 
the midst of this occupation I was stricken with a cerebral hem- 
orrhage, which kept me confined to the hospital for almost five 
months and recuperating for a much longer period. In fact, the 
stroke had been so serious that the doctors ascribed the recovery 
solely to the incessant prayers of others. In time I was able to 
get back to the interrupted book, which was published by the 
B. Herder Book Company in 1942, as Ten Decades of Alms. 

While in the hospital under the watchful care of the sisters, 
it occurred to me that the generous work of our sisters is too little 
appreciated. In the spirit of gratitude I set about collecting 
material on the work done by the sisters and brothers in the 
schools and other institutions conducted by the Capuchin Fa- 
thers of the Calvary Province of St. Joseph and on the history of 
their communities. This material was published in articles that 
appeared over a period of almost two years in the Cowl. Time 
was also available to continue articles on the mission societies 
for the Salesianum and the Catholic Historical Review. 

The Franciscan Educational Conference, which was founded 
in 1919 and comprises members of the three branches of the 
First Franciscan Order, the Friars Minor, the Friars Minor Con- 
ventual and the Friars Minor Capuchin, has also claimed much 
of my attention since the return from the university. During 
most of this time I have been a member of its executive board as 
the representative of my province. On three occasions I read 
papers at the annual meetings. They were published in the an- 
nual reports of the society. Since the beginning of 1941 these 
reports and the Franciscan Studies, which had been published at 
irregular intervals with one topic in each volume, were merged 
in a new quarterly periodical, also called Franciscan Studies. 
During the past two years 1 have been one of its associate editors. 



The American Catholic Historical Association has called me into 
the ranks of its officials by electing me second vice-president for 
the year 1942. 

These few observations will show that my literary efforts were 
influenced by an interest in American Church History, particu- 
larly as set forth in the mission idea and the Franciscan ideal. 
They have been based upon the large amount of material col- 
lected over a period of years with painstaking research. In the 
days to come I hope, if God spares me, to make even better use 
of this material in order to illumine a few more of the still un- 
explored corners in the history ot the Church in the United 

editor’s note Father Roemer’s Leopoldtne Foundation and the Church in 
the United States (1829-1839) was published by the United States Catholic 
Historical Society in 1933; his Ludwtg-mtsswnsveretn and the Church in the 
United States (1838-1918) comprises volume twelve of Franciscan Studies, 
while his translation of Pioneer Capuchin Letters comprises volume sixteen 
of the same series. Herder published his Ten Decades of Alms in 1942. 

MOST YOUNG MEN of twenty have a general idea of the profession 
they would like to follow. Few embark on a career at that age, 
largely because there is no necessity for them to do so. 

My case was different. A business career was being planned 
for me, yet I knew that I wanted to write. My father was a mem- 
ber of a publishing firm; I had been brought up in a world of 
books and writers. My only interest all through school had been 
in literature, history and languages. Composition had been easy. 
I wrote a poem when I was ten which my parents felt I had 
copied. I can't remember it, but it must have had some quality 
to have made them question me as to whether or not it was my 
own work. 

I loved the theatre; saw as many plays as possible and wrote 
my own versions of great successes, among them “Madame But- 
terfly,” which we performed in a neighbor's barn. 

While I had this writing background, I had had no real com- 
mercial training. Still I felt that I knew the form of a story, and 


can remember the confidence with which I set to work on my 
first writing venture. 

I had been in upper Michigan, was returning to New York by 
way of Chicago, when I was taken ill with a heavy cold. It 
seemed a good opportunity for me to attempt a story; so, sitting 
up in bed in a hotel room, I went to work. You see, I felt that 
I must prove to myself that I could write, and sell, before I 
would make my business career a family issue. That first story 
didn’t sell, neither did the fourth or the fifth; but by the time I 
got back to New York, I felt I was ready to call on editors. 

A great many would-be writers insist that there is a concerted 
effort on the part of editors to keep newcomers out of the maga- 
zines. There is absolutely no truth in this. It has been my expe- 
rience in the past thirty years that if a young writer shows any 
ability, the editors are very glad to offer practical encourage- 
ment. I went to the Munsey Company, met Bob Davis and 
Matthew White, was given practical hints as to how to rewrite 
on some of my stories. I made the revisions, submitted them, 
and was told to do additional rewriting. The story was called 
“His Trolley Day” and the third version sold to Argosy for $20 

I have been selling ever since. 

Incidentally, I learned something from my first conversation 
with Mr. Davis that I have never forgotten, and which I can pass 
on as one of the most practical pieces of advice ever handed me. 

Stories or articles should start by commanding the interest of 
the reader. 

As I was told at the Munsey office so many years ago, no one 
would ever come into a room and say: “I saw a beautiful girl in 
a blue dress and as she was coming along the street there was a 
fellow in a grey suit with a grey hat, coming from the opposite 
direction. The girl was leading a bull dog, the man an airedale, 
and as they passed the two dogs started to fight.” 

What you would say as you entered the room would be: “I 
just saw a terrific dog fight!” and then, having commanded inter- 
est, you would explain that one dog belonged to the girl in the 
blue dress, the other to the man in a grey suit. 

Following this formula, I have always found that stories that 



had an intriguing opening paragraph appeal to editors, and I 
nearly always start an article with a human interest anecdote 
that illustrates the theme of the article. 

Of course, the sale of my first few stories overcame the family’s 
desire, and the business career was forgotten. 

In the years that followed I wrote articles and stories for mag- 
azines and newspapers. I got up early in the morning, worked 
hard and 1 earned my share of rejection slips. But 1 also earned 
a living, not an attic-room living either. I tried to turn out at 
least 10,000 words a week. 

At the end of a few years, however, I became somewhat dis- 
couraged. It seemed to me that I was not “growing.” I could 
sell the same type story to the same type magazine, but I wasn’t 
satisfied. I remember telling that fact to a well-known author 
who answered my complaint by asking my age. I told him I was 
27 and then he gave me a very comforting thought. “You’re 
young,” he said, “and a writer has to experience life in order to 
write about it. That’s why you may be able to write a better 
story at 60 than at 16. Live all you can, learn all you can. Know 
people, and I think that after you’ve turned 30 you’ll find your- 
self able to give out on paper some of the experiences that you 
are taking in by living your twenties.” 

The advice was excellent and correct. 

I had always been fond of the theatre. I wrote a column on 
dramatic criticism, for which I was not paid, in order to get free 
tickets to plays, but it never occurred to me to write a play of my 
own until, one day, a newspaper man I knew, read a short story 
of mine and said “That would make a good one-act play.” At 
his suggestion, I went home and made a rough draft of the play. 
He helped me polish it, and it was sold to a standard vaudeville 
team who played it up and down the country. 

It was then that I realized that dramatic writing was the form 
of expression I enjoyed most. With a friend, a woman novelist, 
I wrote a play. It was accepted and produced. It was not a 
success, but the critics expressed a belief that someone in the 
team had a feeling for the theatre. My collaborator said she 
never wanted to write another play, but I went on. 



Again Bob Davis played an important part in my career. He 
phoned me and said that as long as 1 was interested in the the- 
atre, he had a good plot, which he felt 1 could adapt. The result 
was “They All Want Something," which ran in this country and 
England, was extremely popular among stock companies and 
amateur groups, and sold to the movies. 

Without abandoning my magazine work, I have written for 
the theatre ever since; sometimes successfully, sometimes finding 
myself with a failure on my hands. 

There is one point which 1 think I should stress, and that is 
the necessity for a writer to “refuel" his imagination. I have, at 
times, been glad to accept regular contracts. For months I wrote 
magazine publicity for one of the leading motion picture com- 
panies, and at another time served as associate editor of The 
Forum. Too, a strange piece of luck made me the Vice President 
of a corporation owning motion picture theatres. These were 
all good experiences. 

I have always traveled whenever possible, and the money 
earned from my first success in the theatre allowed me to live in 
Europe. I settled down in England and France, traveled slowly 
through Ireland, and gathered data for articles in Germany and 
Switzerland. In the United States, I have found the ranches, 
pueblos, and small towns of the southwest, particularly Northern 
New Mexico, to be productive of ideas. 

In 1933, following the production of two plays which I had 
written while working in Paris, I was asked to become an execu- 
tive of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The transition be- 
tween writing for the theatre and writing for the radio was not 
particularly difficult, once I firmly established in my own mind 
the fact that I only had sound to deal with. But sound is active. 
It moves, and as a character moves he encounters sound. The 
writing of radio dialogue is good practice for any author. It 
requires clarity, also clear direct thinking. All the picturesque 
qualities of speech are possible, but good radio dialogue does 
not wander into the realms of the abstract. 

I am constantly asked by young writers if there are any very 
speciaj requirements on the part of Catholic editors. What they 



are really asking is, '*Do I have to write pietistic stories with ec- 
clesiastical characters? Does the Catholic press demand that I 
write only on religious topics?” 

I would say that the answer is definitely “No.” 

Catholic editors want stories whose philosophy is in accord 
with the teachings of the Church, but on the other hand, the 
majority of the better class magazines in this country, want good 
clean constructive stories. 

Though, my ancestry is Catholic, I was not brought up in the 
Faith. However, I began selling to the Catholic press many 
years before I entered the Church, and I honestly think that my 
best short story, “The Rain Maker,” which appeared in Colum- 
bia, could have appeared in almost any magazine. As a matter 
of fact, my agent sold the foreign rights to several secular publi- 
cations, and it was included in a European college textbook on 
the American Short Story. 

1 have written a few short stories of late, but the two or three 
which have been published in Catholic magazines were not reli- 
gious in theme. 

Articles are somewhat different. Most Catholic publications 
are interested in the achievements of the institutions of the 
Church. However, that is not a hard and fast rule. In the last 
couple of months, the Catholic Digest has reprinted two articles 
of mine. One had to do with Montezuma, the New Mexico 
Seminary where young Mexicans are trained as priests; the other 
was a purely secular article on the power of words, having to do 
with the history of war cries and slogans. 

It seems to me that the best advice to give young authors, is 
that they keep on writing. It is a craft at which you gain polish 
through long hours spent at a desk. Study the magazines for 
which you wish to write. Listen carefully to the radio programs 
to which you wish to contribute. But study and listen. Too 
many people forget, while reading and listening, to consider 
technique. I was asked to contribute a script to the Ave Maria 
hour. For three Sundays I sat in front of the radio, with pencil 
and paper, making notes as to how the script was built; the part 
the narrator played; music cues; how the dramatic interlude was 



woven in; the number of characters used in the script. Then I 
made a rough draft and submitted it, asking advice. It was re- 
turned for my final version. 

Writing is hard, lonely work. But if it's the thing you want 
to do most in this world, the satisfaction of a finished job is one 
of the greatest I can imagine. 

editor's note* Mr. Savage was born in New York City in 1890. His pro- 
duced plays include Don't Bother Wtth Mother (1925), They All Want Some- 
thing (1926), The Buzzard (1928), /'m Wise (1929), Virtue's Bed (1930), The 
Queen at Home (1930), Nellie Was a Lady (1933), The Little Dog Laughed 
(1933), Loose Moments (1935), Forever and Forever (1937), Saje Crossing (1940). 


IT HAS BELN REMARKFi) that my pcii has produced over the past 
decade and a half an unusually large amount of material. Pre- 
sumably that IS true. It can be admitted without the slightest 
spirit of boastfulness, because it is simply accounted for in great 
part by the particular type of work that it has fallen to my lot 
to do. Perhaps the reader will be interested first of all to know 
something about that work, how it came to be my lot, and how 
the course of my life, even in a measure from childhood, grad- 
ually prepared me for it. Let us turn to this first, and then the 
reader will better be able to appreciate what I will add about my 
writings themselves. 

I was born the seventh child of a large family in which eleven 
children — six boys and five girls — ^were reared to manhood and 
womanhood. It was on December 15, 1892, that I first saw the 
light of day. My parents were then living in the section of 
Kansas City, Kansas, known as Quindaro. They chose for me 
the baptismal name Louis Mary, after the Most Reverend Louis 
Mary Fink, O.S.B., Bishop of Leavenworth Diocese with whom 



they were acquainted. The name Edgar was assumed later in 
life when 1 became a religious. 

My father, John Baptist Schmiedeler, had come to the United 
States about a dozen years earlier from the tiny Catholic country 
of Luxembourg. With his wife, Margaret Mueller, also a native 
of Luxembouig, he had settled in Kansas City when it was a 
relatively small community, still little removed from its pioneer 
stage when it was known as Westport Landing, “jumping off 
place” for wagon trains heading for the Far West. 

Both my father and mother had the benefit of something more 
than an ordinary education, the former having for some time 
attended an institution of higher learning in France, the latter 
having received her education at St. Sofie, a Sisters' Academy for 
Girls located in the city of Luxembourg, capital of the Grand 
Duchy. Both read and spoke four languages. Appreciating the 
value of education in their own lives, they stopped at no sacrifice 
to assure a good education to their children. 

It was in the raw newness of the Kansas City of nearly half a 
century ago, then, that I spent my boyhood. There too I began 
my long career as a student. My elementary education was re- 
ceived at St. John's and Holy Name parochial schools, and sev- 
eral months before my thirteenth birthday I began my high 
school studies at St. Benedict's, a school which was to figure very 
considerably in all my later life. For it was my first year at St. 
Benedict’s, a boarding school for boys conducted by the Bene- 
dictine Fathers at Atchison, Kansas, that 1 entered the scholasti- 
cate, the part of the institution which houses the students study- 
ing with a view to entering the Benedictine Order, and thus, at 
an early age, declared my intention of following the great 
teacher, St. Benedict. 

During my first year of college studies, 1 was invested with the 
Benedictine habit or religious garb worn by the monks. 1 en- 
tered the novitiate of the Order after the completion of my 
second year of college work, at the end of which I pronounced 
my simple vows. Solemn vows followed three years later after 
I had completed the first year of theological studies at St. Vincent 
Graduate School of Theology, a Benedictine institution at 



Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where my religious superiors had sent 
me in 1912 further to pursue my studies. Here 1 was awarded 
the degrees of Master of Arts and Licentiate in Theology. Or- 
dained with my classmates before the full completion of the time 
^Hotted for the theological studies, because of the shortage of 
priests resulting from the demand for chaplains during the 
World War, I was unable to complete my work for the Doctorate 
in Theology, a degree toward which I had been working. Given 
an opportunity for further study some years later, I attended the 
Catholic University of America at Washington, D. C., where I 
was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1927. Brief 
periods of study were also spent at the Universities of Notre 
Dame and Harvard, in the Graduate School conducted in the 
United States Department of Agriculture. 

1 would like to insert here, at least parenthetically, that, in 
spite of all my other opportunities for study, I have been par- 
ticularly grateful for my years of philosophical and theological 
training. My studies in these fields have time and again proved 
of immeasurable importance. One appreciates this more and 
more every day. They keep the Catholic scholar from being 
mislead by the manifold vagaries of the day. Their lack in the 
training of the secular scholar accounts for the fact that he so 
frequently and so easily is led astray. It may seem almost in- 
credible, but very few scholars of the day outside the Church 
have a real specific philosophy of life. 

Following my ordination to the priesthood, December 20, 
1918, I began teaching at St. Benedict’s. During the first se- 
mester of 1919, 1 taught the Latin and Greek languages in high 
school. To this teaching load there was added the following fall 
the classes in Dogmatic Theology offered for theological stu- 
dents. The year 1921 was spent in pastoral work in a large rural 
parish, Sts. Peter and Paul at Seneca, Kansas, after which, re- 
turning to teach, 1 was assigned classes in a field that had long 
appealed to me and to which I have intensively and extensively 
devoted myself since, namely, the social sciences, and particularly 

I have often applied the term, the “modern humanities’* to the 



social sciences. Possibly the term came to me in my readings. 
From early school days 1 had been interested in these sciences, 
and wide reading served to whet my appetite more and more 
for them. Often I had to range far afield for this reading, for the 
sciences of sociology and economics were still very much in the 
formative stages, and consequently, to be an authority in either, 
one had in reality to become one of the founders of these sciences. 
Catholic social literature was very meager, particularly in such 
specialized branches as the sociology of the family and of rural 
life, two fields in which I consistently centered my interest more 
and more. Because of a lack of good current literature from the 
Catholic standpoint, I devoted considerable study to the field of 
social history, a study which formed a very helpful background 
for my subsequent years of work in the “modern humanities.** 

As a young student I never missed an opportunity to enlarge 
my knowledge of social thought. My interest of many years in 
cooperatives, for instance, dates back to a series of articles, de- 
scribing cooperative organizations in various countries of Eu- 
rope, which I came across in the old publication of Henry Ford, 
the Dearborn Independent. Public reading in the scholastic 
refectory during the noon meal acquainted me with such schol- 
arly volumes as Montalambert's The Monks of the West — books 
hlled with vital and interesting social history. But it was per- 
haps the small volume of the English Jesuit, Father Charles 
Plater, entitled The Priest and Social Action, a gift from my 
mother during my college days, that exerted the most far-reach- 
ing influence over me. The volume, published in 1914, de- 
scribed in considerable detail the social activities of the Catholic 
clergy in various European countries, subsequent to the publica- 
tion of the great encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the working 
classes {Rerum Novarum). I read it repeatedly. Incidentally, 
here again, my interest in cooperatives, and especially in the little 
financial cooperatives known as credit unions, was further fed. 

Other preparation for my future work was afforded me at 
St. Vincent's Seminary where, as a theology student, I was privi- 
leged to attend special lectures on the social studies by the 
Reverend (later. Right Reverend Monsignor) Barry O'Toole, 



professor of philosophy. During the summer of 1922, I studied 
at the Notre Dame University summer session, where I found 
particularly valuable a course based on Dr. John A. Ryan's 
classic volume. Distributive Justice, taught by the Reverend 
William Bolger, C.S.C. I was indebted to the courtesy and 
graciousness of Father Bolger also for the extensive bibliog- 
raphies in various fields of the social studies which were fur- 
nished me during that summer's work. 

In the fall of 1925 I was given leave of absence from my teach- 
ing duties to devote my full time as a student to the field of social 
studies at the Catholic University of America. At this institution 
I was fortunate in having among my professors such Catholic 
scholars as Drs. John M. Cooper, William J. Kerby, Thomas 
Vernor Moore, O.S.B., and John A. Ryan. My major work was 
done in sociology, my first minor was in economics and my 
second in psychology. Dr. Cooper served as my major professor, 
and I found that although no courses were offered at the Uni- 
versity in my special fields of interest, the family and rural life, 
I could, under the direction of my major professor, delve deeper 
into them than ever before. I wrote my thesis for the doctorate 
on. The Industrial Revolution and the Home, a subject that 
necessitated considerable research in the fields of both family and 
rural life. I have always considered the writing of this thesis 
under the able direction of such an outstanding Catholic scholar 
as Dr. Cooper as the most valuable single experience in all my 
years as a student. 

Upon receipt of my degree at Catholic University in June, 
1927, I went to Harvard University for the current summer ses- 
sion. Here I took courses under piofessors from four different 
educational institutions who were on the Harvard faculty that 
summer. The experience was a useful one. With one of these 
professors. Dr. Ernest R. Groves, Director of the Institute for 
Social Research at the University of North Carolina, and one of 
the leading secular authorities on the family, I have always kept 

Returning to St. Benedict's, I took up my new duties as pro- 
fessor of sociology and chairman of the newly-established Depart- 



ment of Sociology at the College. My classroom work was sup> 
plemented with a new and absorbing activity — ^writing. Keenly 
aware of the great need for a Catholic literature in the field of 
the new humanities, 1 gave every spare moment that 1 could to 

It was not the first time I had tried my hand at writing. I had 
served on the staff of the students’ publication. The Abbey 
Student, at St. Benedict’s College, and had contributed to it from 
time to time. 1 recall vividly my first article, my first story, and 
my first poem. The article told of the founding and early work 
of the Maryknoll Missioners. The story centered in a young 
man who got into a dreadful mess but discovered to his great 
relief when his alarm clock went off that it was all but a dream. 
The poem was the class poem the year I finished my work at St. 
Benedict’s College. It was dedicated for the class to our Alma 
Mater. The fact is that even in high school I had received some 
encouragement to write. I recall distinctly, for instance, how 
much 1 was encouraged to do so after taking first honors in an 
essay contest in second year high. 

I have much reason to be grateful that my professors at the 
Catholic University encouraged me to write. The first articles 
1 had published in ranking Catholic publications were due to 
their encouragement. I recall, after reporting to a class of which 
1 was a member, a paper I had been assigned on vocational 
guidance, the professor remarked that some Catholic publication 
might be interested in it. The thought would never have oc- 
curred to me. I sent it to the Catholic Education Review and it 
was accepted. Shorly afterward the head of the Sociology De- 
partment of the University, Dr. William K. Kerby, suggested 
that I write a popular digest of my thesis for the well-known 
priests’ magazine. The Ecclesiastical Review. 1 did so; and two 
months later the article was in print. 

My first large-scale writing project was a textbook on the 
family for use in courses on marriage and the family offered in 
Catholic colleges. The volume. An Introductory Study of the 
Family, was published in 19S0 by the Century Company (now 
D. Appleton-Century Company). A year later a supplementary 



volume. Readings on the Family, was published by the same 
company. One very heartening result of the appearance of these 
two volumes was the rapid growth of courses on the family in 
Catholic colleges and universities. 

Quite a different field of activity was opened to me, however, 
when in the fall of 1930, the Most Reverend Thomas F. Lillis, 
Bishop of Kansas City, requested that I join the staff of the 
Social Action Department of the National Catholic Welfare 
Conference. The sanction of my religious superiors was im- 
mediately forthcoming, but I was unable to take up my new 
duties in Washington until August, 1931, because of previous 
teaching commitments. 

Arrived at the headquarters of the National Catholic Welfare 
Conference, I found, much to my satisfaction, that in my work 
I was to enjoy a close contact with two eminent authorities in 
the field of the social sciences. Monsignor John A. Ryan and 
Father Raymond McGowan, and that my own work was to be 
mainly in my two chosen fields of interest, family life and rural 
life. As Director of the Social Action Department, Monsignor 
Ryan, one of my former professors at the Catholic University of 
America, appointed me to direct the work of the Rural Life 
Bureau, which had been established about a decade before, and 
directed me to initiate a program of action in behalf of the 
family. To provide a channel for the latter work the establish- 
ment of a special Family Life Section in the Social Action De- 
partment was authorized. 

Most of my time and effort was devoted to this new activity, 
namely, that of the family. After studying the field carefully for 
some time I set up the following progiam of activities as a guide: 
1) Encouraging the development of Catholic leaders in the field 
of the family, particularly through suitable courses in Catholic 
schools, and through study clubs for those outside the school 
system; 2) Studying and disseminating the principles of Christian 
Marriage, particularly as set forth in the Encyclical of Pope 
Pius XI on Christian Marriage; 3) Promoting a parent education 
movement; 4) Fostering recreational and other home interests; 
5) Encouraging the establishment of the Association of the Holy 



Family, and through it fostering religious practices within the 
home; 6) Promoting on a parish basis, maternity guilds designed 
to aid members in caring for the expense incidental to child 
birth in their families; 7) Popularizing various activities in be- 
half of a renewed and vigorous family life through the medium 
of lectures, radio talks, articles, and discussion clubs. 

To promote an active interest in the family program two 
major steps were necessary; 1) the formation of a special purpose 
organization or conference group consisting of the abler Catholic 
students of family life; the development of a popular literature 
on the family, both for private reading and study and for study 
club work. The first step was achieved in 1933 when I met at 
Mundelein College, Chicago, with a group of about twenty-five 
individuals who had shown sp>ecial interest and ability in the 
field of the family, and organized the National Catholic Con- 
ference on Family Life. The students of family life, who form 
the nucleus of this Conference, have contributed to the family 
cause in various ways, but particularly as advisors to the Director 
of the Family Life Section and as contributors to a much-needed 
family sociological literature. 

A considerable variety of literature has been developed since 
the establishment of the Family Life Section and the launching 
of the Family Conference. From the beginning I encouraged 
others to write in this field. But my own pen was never idle. To 
help the Catholic parent education movement get under way, 
I first of all wrote, in cooperation with Sister Rosa McDonough, 
Dean of St. Joseph College, Hartford, Connecticut, the volume. 
Parent and Child, a book that covers all phases of child care and 
training in the home. My next undertaking in this field was the 
complete revision of the volume. Marriage and Parenthood: The 
Catholic Ideal, originally written by Father Thomas Gerrard of 
England and published by the Joseph Wagner Company, New 
York. In 1940, the P. J. Kenedy Company published for me a 
popularly written volume. The Sacred Bond, which emphasizes 
particularly the religious side of family life. Meanwhile, I wrote 
at various intervals brochures and booklets on family topics, 
most of them arranged for study club purposes. Among the 



dozen or so of these, perhaps the most extensively used is the 
commentary on Pope Pius XI's Encyclical on Christian Marriage, 
Since 1933 I have served as associate editor of the Catholic 
Family Monthly, organ of the Family Conference. To this, and 
to a laige group of other publications, I have contributed more 
than a hundred articles, the majority of which deal with family 

In spite of this activity in behalf of the family, I did not slight 
the rural work. In the rural, as in the family field, I think it can 
unhesitatingly be said that I have been the most prolific of Catho> 
lie writers in this country. The absence of a satisfactory text for 
rural sociology courses in Catholic colleges led me to write the 
volume, A Better Rural Life, published by the Joseph Wagner 
Company in 1938. I also wrote the first draft of the “Annotations” 
which comprise over two-thirds of the Manifesto on Rural Life, 
published in 1939 by the Bruce Company of Milwaukee for the 
National Catholic Rural Life Conference. In 1941 the Catholic 
Literary Guild published my volume. Cooperation: A Christian 
Mode of Industry, D. C. Heath and Company at present is pub- 
lishing a general text on sociology for use in high schools, of 
which I am a co-author. The manuscript for another book, this 
time again on the family, is at present — the summer of 1942 — 
nearing completion. 

I have also written many articles and a number of brochures 
in the rural field. For the past few years I have been serving as 
Liaison Editor for North American Cooperation on the quarterly 
Rural Sociology, oigan of the Rural Sociological Society. 

While I have given much time and effort to the development 
of a Catholic rural life movement — ^I had taught, beginning in 
1932, the first rural sociology course ever to be offered in an 
American Catholic college — ^I have never been sanguine about 
results to be expected. I am a firm believer in the values of a 
rural mode of living for a vital family life, and presumably no 
pen has more repeatedly set forth those values than mine has. 
But I am convinced, as I have often stated, that only a deep 
religious motive or an unusual social cataclysm could induce any 
large number of people to go back to the land, once they had 



become acclimated to city life. Consequently, I have maintained 
that effort to strengthen the rural Church in the United States, 
to bring genuine results, would have to be directed along two 
lines: 1) convert-making, through such a medium as the so-called 
Motor Mission, among the vast number of unchurched rural 
Americans, and 2) making life in the country more generally 
livable so that a reasonable proportion of the young people of 
German extraction — the only racial group among Catholics that 
has at all seriously taken to the soil in this country — ^will remain 
on the land. 

Since the organization of the present school of Social Sciences 
in 1936 at the Catholic University, I have served on its faculty. 
At first I only offered a course on the Encyclical on Christian 
Marriage and one on Rural Sociology. Later I added one on 
Cooperatives and another on Agricultural Economics. These 
were all new courses at the University. In 1940, I took over the 
course on Industrial Ethics taught for years by Dr. John A. Ryan, 
when age-limit requirements at the University required him to 
give up teaching. 

It has been impossible in this brief sketch to say anything 
about the detailed activities that have more or less formed the 
order of the day at my office in the National Catholic Welfare 
Conference. It must suffice to say that the Family Life Section, 
which I had fathered, had grown to such an extent by 1941 that 
it was then elevated to the rank of a Bureau. It was also at this 
time made a part of the Executive Department. As Director of 
this agency — the Family Life Bureau — I shall unquestionably 
have ample opportunity to make the most of the many years of 
study and labor I have already put into the field. In this day 
when the home life of our country is threatened by so many very 
serious evils there is perhaps no more important field of en- 
deavor in the entire social realm. 

The foregoing story will suggest that I have written a great 
deal. Indeed, it will be no exaggeration to say that I have 
written considerably more than the average person who writes 
for publication. And yet, I feel that I have not accomplished 



as much through my own writing as I have accomplished through 
the encouragement I have given others to write. My work has 
given me many contacts with people who can write, and who 
needed only a little encouragement to induce them to write. I 
have for years, more or less as a matter of set policy, encouraged 
such people to write, and have even suggested to them oppor- 
tunities for doing so. 

One particular channel through which I have had unusual 
opportunity for doing this, in the case of young people, has been 
the story and essay contest conducted by my office each year for 
the National Catholic Conference in Family Life. Approxi- 
mately a dozen productions of this contest get into print each 
year, and their authors are encouraged to try their hand further 
at writing. A fair number of these respond to this suggestion. 
Such writers generally, once they have gotten into print, are 
much encouraged to try again. 

Perhaps the reader may care to know whether I have ex- 
perienced any disappointments in connection with my writings. 
The answer is definitely in the negative. From time to time an 
article has not been accepted. Perhaps these articles were un- 
timely. Perhaps they did not fit the particular publication to 
which they were sent. The latter is suggested by the fact that 
several articles that were returned by editors were later accepted 
by publications of higher standing. Possibly, too, at least one 
or the other article was too rapidly written. But refusals or re- 
jections here are not disappointments, they are part of the game. 
Even the best trained and approved writers have to put up with 
them at times. They scarcely detract one iota from the intense 
interest that writing generates in the author. 


DANTE LAYS DOWN the Tule that an author should not write about 
himself. The one exception which he permits is in favor of the 
writer whose personal experiences will be a source of edification 
to the world. My only excuse for using the first person singular 
is a desire to encourage the readers for whom this book is pri- 
marily intended, and to whom the business of learning to write 
is a major activity of their curricular work. 

On my twelfth birthday, which fell on January 11, 1895, a 
friend presented me with a copy of The Last of the Mohicans. 
This was the first book that I read with a delight akin to that 
described by Keats when he delved into Chapman’s translation 
of Homer. When I had finished Cooper’s masterpiece, I imme- 
diately investigated the large bookcase which stood in our Amer- 
ican-Victorian living room, with its sets of thick tomes of fine 
print, bound in green, red, brown, and black. These were the 
“complete works’’ of Dickens, Thackeray, Scott, and kindred 
authors. After I had exhausted the possibilities of this bookcase. 



1 invested the first money that 1 had earned, a dollar and a half, 
in a subscription to the lending library of my native city, 
Dubuque, Iowa. During the closing years of the nineteenth 
century I developed into an avid reader, with a decided prefer- 
ence for books of a literary cast, novels, plays, poems, popular 
histories and biographies. Of course, this liking for books 
predisposed me in favor of the English courses of high school 
and college, with the result that I eventually became a teacher 
of English literature and a writer on literary topics. In a large 
sense, therefore, my professional career was determined on my 
twelfth birthday, when I experienced the thrill of literature for 
the first time. My early reading, while it did not prompt me to 
pen a line at the time, instilled in me a profound admiration for 
the miracle of the printed word. Long before I began to write 
I was, albeit unconsciously, marshalled down the road by the 
books which I had read in my formative years. The statement 
that books come from books is true in the sense that writers are 
inspired and molded by the great authors of the past. Today, 
when I list the various agencies which indirectly conspired to 
create in me an urge to write, I consider the most influential of 
these to be my early reading. 

My early reading was of a desultory nature, and mainly, as 
Lord Bacon puts it, ‘‘for delight." During my years in high 
school and college I gradually became, comparatively speaking, 
a critical reader; that is, I learned to evaluate my reading in 
terms of my own knowledge and experience. This transition 
was accomplished in the English classes, where I was required to 
hand in written assignments based on the classics which served 
as texts. I can recall my first attempt to achieve literary effect, 
the first bit of writing which I penned with great gusto. It was 
a class paper on lago and Richard III, which bore the melodra- 
matic title of “Villain versus Villain.” 

At the beginning of my junior year I was appointed to the 
staff of the College Spokesman, a literary quarterly published by 
the students of Loras College. This appointment supplied me 
with an added incentive for working hard at the task of master- 
ing the art of composition. I became interested in matters of 



literary technique; 1 began to keep a notebook and to compile 
a word-list; 1 planned every assignment carefully and strove to 
organize my material into a unified whole; I expended much 
time and labor upon the mere mechanics of writing. During 
my tenure as staff member I contributed a steady flow of essays, 
stories, verse and editorials to the college journal, and, in making 
these trial flights of the imagination, I gradually discovered what 
I could do best. My stories and verse were passable, but my 
most telling ventures were literary critiques and informative 
articles. I was convinced, therefore, when I had served my 
apprenticeship as an amateur journalist, that narration and de- 
scription were not for me, and that if I continued to write 1 must 
specialize in the fields of exposition and argumentation. 

After my graduation from Loras College in 1905, I spent three 
years preparing for the priesthood at the North American Col- 
lege in Rome. During this period my reading was mainly con- 
fined to my theological textbooks, and of course the strict semi- 
nary regime was not planned to provide leisure hours for writing. 
Luckily, however, I had taken with me a copy of Cardinal New- 
man’s The Idea of a University, a volume which, if I may adapt 
a memorable saying of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, I bound for a 
frontlet on my brow and as a talisman on my writing wrist. As 
a teacher and as a writer I owe more to this book than to any 
other which I have read. I studied it not only for its wisdom 
and luminous style but also for its masterly handling of exposi- 
tion and argumentation, the two forms of literary discourse 
which meant most to me. Newman was keenly alive to the 
power wielded by non-Catholic writers for purposes of propa- 
ganda, and he exhorted young Catholic writers to imitate their 
neighbors by harnessing their talents, large or small, in the serv- 
ice of the Church. I quote the passage from The Idea of a Uni- 
versity to which I determined to hitch my literary cart: “Cath- 
olics must do as their neighbors; they must be content to serve 
their generation, to promote the interests of religion, to recom- 
mend truth, and to edify their brethren to-day, though their 
names are to have little weight, and their works are not to last 
much beyond themselves.” 

Since my ordination in 1908, with the exception of a sabbatical 



year of absence, which I spent at the University of Oxford, I have 
taught in the English department of Loras College. When a 
student complains that he lacks a theme and has nothing to write 
about, I generally ask him two questions: Haven’t you an occu- 
pational interest? Haven’t you a hobby? I have a right to ask 
these questions because I have based all my writing on my pro- 
fessional work and on my two hobbies, which happen to be 
reading and travel. My classroom activities inspired three text- 
books: Newman's Idea of a University (1929), A Shakespeare 
Study Guide (1931), and The Fine Gold of the Old Testament 
(1938). All three are working tools designed for the use of col- 
lege students, and all three were written because no other 
treatises of the kind were available at the time of publication. 
The writing of textbooks is a laborious task demanding much 
research and a painstaking accuracy of statement, and yet it is 
not without its compensations for a teacher. The chief of these 
is the increased efficiency which springs from the mental dis- 
cipline involved in exploring some little nook in your chosen 
field and in communicating your discoveries with clearness and 
exactness, and then there is always the thrill of marching into 
the classroom with your own text under your arm. 

Most of the writing which I have done during the leisure 
periods when I was free to doff my academic gown has been in 
the interest of Catholic apologetics, and has taken the form of 
popular lectures and articles based on topics suggested by my 
reading and by my experiences in Europe. The reception of my 
journalistic contributions to The Witness, the official organ of 
the archdiocese of Dubuque, prompted me to submit more pre- 
tentious manuscripts to Catholic magazines of national circula- 
tion. The rejection slips were generally for pieces of a thousand 
words or less; the longer ones fared better. The moral was that 
for my best work 1 needed elbow room; and so 1 developed into a 
writer of articles averaging between five thousand and ten thou- 
sand words. My lectures and articles have been collected into 
three books: The Return of the Prodigal and Other Essays 
(1932), So You're Going to College (1934), and In the Steps of 
Dante and Other Papers (1941). 

It may be of interest to illustrate how I have used my hobbies 



to provide me with material for articles. In 19S0, H. L. Mencken 
was riding on the crest of a wave of popularity, and his books 
were being quoted even by sophomores. At that time no Catho- 
lic apologist had taken up his challenge. I read his series of 
Prejudices and his other works with the aim of evaluating him 
both as a writer and as a theologian. I embodied the results of 
my research in two papers which were published in the Catholic 
World: “H. L. Mencken — ^Doctor Rhetoricus,” and “H. L. 
Mencken and Catholicism.” In my judgment he merited an “A” 
as a writer, and an “F” as a writer on Catholicism. I have often 
been asked what was his reaction to these articles. Through a 
mutual friend he sent me word that I was “a formidable an- 
tagonist, and yet a very polite one,” accompanying this handsome 
pronouncement with an invitation to partake of his hospitality 
in Baltimore. 

Travelogues which smack of the guide-book are a drug on the 
market. However, a tourist may arrive on a scene when history 
is in the making, and then, if he can record his impressions, 
there is an article in the making. It has been my good fortune 
to be in Naples in 1905 during the great eruption of Mount 
Vesuvius, to witness the birth of the Irish Free State from a 
ringside seat in the Bail Eireann, to be in Berlin with a million 
marks in my pocket when the inflation was at its height, to be 
in Munich when Hitler and Ludendorff were preparing their 
abortive Putsch, and to be in Paris during the disorders of 1936, 
which presaged the present plight of France. All these events 
furnished me with pegs on which to hang articles. 

To students who read this sketch, I say, De te fabula — ^“The 
story concerns you.” If you wish to write, you must have some- 
thing to say, and you must be able to say it correctly and clearly. 
The something to say demands that you read widely, that you 
read some books (the tools of your trade) intensively, that you 
observe, and that you think. Above all, unless you are genuinely 
interested in your subject and willing to make it your own by 
mental labor, you will not write anything worth reading. You 
should be interested in your work and your hobbies, and hence 
for you they are subjects made to order. To be able to write 



with correctness and clearness demands a knowledge of the tech- 
nique of composition, which you can acquire in your English 
classes by study and practice. Choose some great master of style 
as your model of expression, and be on terms of loving famili- 
arity with his works. Contribute to your school paper and take 
advantage of every opportunity to write. 

There is no royal road to authorship, but there is a road paved 
with sweat and sacrifice. Learning to write is a slow growth, 
depending on the development on one's faculties by the dis- 
cipline of hard study and systematic exercises. The point is, 
however, that this growth can be achieved, that every student in 
high school can learn to write with some degree of facility — one 
of the normal things which G. K. Chesterton requires that the 
normal person ought to do. 

editor’s note. Loras College conferred the honorary degree of Litt.D. upon 
Father Semper in 19S8. His books include Fine Gold of the Old Testament, 
19S8. Loras College Press; The Return of the Prodigal, and Other Essays, 
1932, O’Toole; Shakespeare Study Guide, 1931, Appleton; So You*re Going 
to College, 1934, Hardie Publishing Co , Dubuque; In the Steps of Dante, and 
Other Papers, 1941, Loras College Press 

THERE ARE SEVERAL good Tcasons why I might have declined the 
invitation to contribute to this series. There is one good reason 
why I should accept the invitation, namely, that it enables me 
to acknowledge publicly the extent to which I am indebted to 

Those of my readers who have reached a mature age without 
losing a sense of proportion, can recall, in all probability from 
their own lives, examples of the beneficent intervention of Provi- 
dence, either in the form of frustrating their desire at the time 
or of directing them along a path of which existence they were 
not previously aware. It would be moral cowardice on my part, 
if I did not reveal that in the month of December, 1930, 1 saw no 
prospect of giving my six children an education as good as that 
which my father, by great self-sacrifice, had given me. 

Yet, on October 26, 1934, or in less than four years, the fol- 
lowing story was starred in one of our national weeklies, The 
Sunday Express. Here it is: 






This is the true story, told for the first time, of one of the most 
extraordinary book romances of recent years. 

It is the story of a man whose only previous books were tech- 
nical ones. He was persuaded to write his memoirs, and did so 
with infinite labour. His manuscript was refused by publisher 
after publisher. Finally, when he had almost abandoned hope, 
it was accepted and published. 

From the first week it became a best seller. For nearly two 
years it remained a world best seller. Today it is still selling 
more copies than were sold in the first week of publication. 

Wherever books are discussed, you hear talk of it. It has 
transformed the life of its lucky author, bringing him both fame 
and fortune. 

This romantic best seller is The Arches of the Years, a volume 
of reminiscences by a fifty-year-old physician. 

Although an expensively priced book, thirteen editions were 
sold in its original form. In 1942, a cheap edition — the four- 
teenth edition — was issued at five shillings. In its first week, 
8,355 copies of this edition were sold. 

Since The Story of San Michele, no book of reminiscences has 
sold anything like so well as The Arches of the Years, Yet I had 
never written a line of general literature before I wrote this book. 

The book was originated by Mr. Frank C. Betts, my literary 
agent. In December, 1930, I called on Mr. Betts and discussed 
with him the writing of various articles for popular newspapers. 
In the course of the conversation, I recounted one or two ex- 
periences in my life. 

“You must write a book,” said the agent. 

“I have written only textbooks,” replied Dr. Sutherland. 

“Nevertheless you can write a best seller,” insisted Mr. Betts. 

Very patiently I went to work, and in November, 1931, the 
whole of the typescript was ready. Before then, there had been 



times when I had set it aside in despair. Somehow or other it 
would not go. There were other times when I wrote from 10:00 
p.M. to 4:00 A.M., without hesitating for a word. 

“This,” said the agent finally, “is a winner. I guarantee it will 
sell ten editions.” 

But strangely enough, when he came to place it, not a pub- 
lisher would accept it. 

The curious thing was that the manuscript was shown to two 
editors of national newspapers. Each said it was a splendid 

Mr. John Gordon, editor of The Sunday Express, said that 
there were passages in it as good as anything he had ever read. 
In particular, he referred to a description to the bell-ringing in 

That was real encouragement, because he had picked out the 
piece of descriptive writing that had given me more trouble than 
anything else in the book. 

Still, publisher after publisher refused it. The manuscript 
was sent to America. No one would look at it. It crossed and 
recrossed the Atlantic four times. The leading agents declared 
it was a book without interest to Americans. The publishers 
returned it politely. 

“They are wrong,” said my agent, when I despaired that I had 
wasted ten months of my life. “I do not care what they say. 
This book is a winner I” 

Without his faith and courage, the book would never have 
been written or published. He was certain it would succeed. 
He declared that newspapermen were better judges of public 
taste than were publishers* readers. 

But in March, 1932, the manuscript was sent to and accepted 
by GeoflErey Bles. One year later, after some cutting, it was 

It was an immediate success. For weeks it sold 500 copies a 
week; then the sales slowly moved down to 250 copies, at which 
figure it remained for months. 

Such was the story of The Arches of the Years up to the Fall 
of 1934. To bring the story up to date, it is necessary to add that 



this book is now in its thirtieth English edition; and has been 
translated into Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, German, 
Polish, and Czechoslovakian. Arches of the Years was followed 
by A Time to Keep, In My Path, Lapland Journey, Hebridean 
Journey, and Southward Journey. Not one of them a failure! 
Southward Journey was published on March 25, 1942, and was 
launched by a two-column review on the leader page of the 
London Daily Mail, and written by the Editor. All these books 
bear witness to the Providence of God. 

The title of the article in the Sunday Express, suggested that 
Arches of the Years “Makes a Man's Fortune in a Few Months." 
As everything is relative, and in order that my readers may not 
lose their sense of proportion, 1 shall now reveal what 1 made 
out of Arches of the Years up to the present time, that is to say, 
within a period of ten years. After paying my literary agent a 
commission of ten per cent, my royalties amount to £3,010/15/9, 
on the sales of the British edition. After paying a commission of 
five per cent to the literary agent and a commission of ten per 
cent to Messrs. Geoffrey Bles, the British publishers, my royalties 
amount to $4,487.69 on the sales of the American edition. The 
English serial rights were sold to News of the World for £300. 
Out of that, the literary agent had a commission of twenty per 
cent and Geoffrey Bles a commission of twenty-five per cent, 
which left £165 for the author. 

Incidentally, my accounts reveal that the life of a book is much 
longer in Britain than in the United States. For example, Amer- 
ican royalties had fallen from approximately $4,000 in 1934 to 
$9.00 in 1941; whereas British royalties over the same period 
have fallen from approximately £800 to £80. 

Two years ago I was present at a Conference of Catholic Writ- 
ers, held in Wellington, New Zealand. One of the questions they 
discussed was how Catholic writers might be organized for pur- 
poses of propaganda. My contribution to that discussion was not 
very helpful, because I maintained that Catholic writers could 
not be successfully oi^nized for the purposes of propaganda. 
Catholicism implies a way of living and a way of thinking. This 
last is, or ought to be, a complete philosophy of life, which is. 



therefore, inherent in every Catholic witer in the measure that 
he holds the Faith. When the gift of writing has been added to 
the gift of Faith, the result may be a masterpiece like Hilaire Bel- 
loc's Path to Rome. So far as my own books are concerned, I 
learnt of their propaganda value from a non-Catholic reviewer. 
Late one night in the Caf^ Royal, he spoke as follows: 

“It never made any difference to me, but I don't mind telling 
you that two of the best known reviewers in London told me that 
they would have been much kinder to you if there had been less 
Catholic propaganda in your books. They were quite kind, but 
they would have been kinder." 

“Propaganda!” I exclaimed. “There's no propaganda in my 

“You’re a liar,” said the reviewer. “Your books are full of 
propaganda, and it’s the worst kind of propaganda, because it’s 
concealed. And you know that as well as I do.” 

Now if that friendly reviewer had said “best” instead of 
“worst,” I would have agreed with him. 

editor’s note* Halliday Gibson Sutherland, Ml), was liorn m Glasgow, 
Scotland, in 1882, and was educated in medicine at the Universities of ^in- 
burgh, Aberdeen, and Dublin. In 1915, he discovered the aetiology of 
cerebro-spmal fever. He became a Catholic in 1919. London is now his 
place of residence. An authority on tuberculosis, he is the author of three 
standard works on the subject, and writes for the medical press of Britain 
and America. His books for the general reader include Arches of the Years, 
1933, Bles; Hehrtdean Journey, 1939, Bles; Lapland Journey, 1938, Bles; The 
Laws of Life, 1936, Sheed, A Time to Keep, 1934, Morrow; Southward Jour- 
ney, 1942, Bles, Control of Life, 1942, Burns, Oates. 


BEING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF of a national Catholic weekly is regarded 
as being in a position of honor and prestige. Such a regard 
troubles me very little, except when it becomes embarrassing 
through a too fervid manifestation of admiration on the part of 
people who happen to cross my path. It always makes me feel 
tiny and humble when, as happens upon being introduced, the 
very deeply impressed person will ask: '*The Father Talbot?** 

Being Editor-in-Chief of a Catholic journal of opinion is, in 
reality, a position of grave responsibility, in which one faces ever- 
new problems and lives in perpetual worry. However, one be- 
comes inured to these. Being chronic and expected, they do not 
hurt too much. But they do prevent one from leading a mellow, 
care-free life. 

The great advantage in holding the position of Editor is that 
of being able to wield influence, according to one’s own capabil- 
ity, for the honor and glory of God, and for the strengthening 
and the spread of Catholicism, and for the welfare and perpetua- 
tion of our democratic United States. 



Through what may be regarded as a special Providence of God, 
I have been continued, despite my deficiencies, as Editor-in-Chief 
for six years. Reluctantly, I accepted the appointment. Re- 
joicingly would I relinquish the charge. In retrospect, it was far 
more pleasant to be the mere Literary Editor from 1923 till 1936. 
In the future, it will be decidedly refreshing to be relieved of the 
concerns about a chaotic contemporary world and to have the 
time and the mental freedom to write all the articles and stories 
and books that I have planned. 

The purpose of this chapter in this series, it has been explained 
to me, is that of exposing, to those who care to read it, my de- 
velopment and attempted achievements as a writer. There is 
little to say, and yet much that might be said, about this phase of 
me. Whatever is said, is simply held up to the gaze of the reader, 
for whatever help it may be. 

There is little to be recorded about my early years in the parish 
school, except that I was a steady and undiscriminating reader. 
Dime novels, secured second-hand preferably, were a fascination 
to me and a horror to my good mother. Good books, however, 
were also reading, and therefore diligently sought by me at the 
dusty parish library and at the public library. And so, my first 
approach to writing was through reading, effected despite the 
irritating demands of studying my lessons and the urge to go out 
and play with the crowd. 

In high-school, my menu for reading was improved, and my 
appetite was whetted. Before I had finished the four years in 
three, under most competent direction I had traveled through 
the wonders of Fennimore Cooper and Washington Irving, 
Stevenson, Dickens and Walter Scott, and had lived in their 
worlds and thrilled to their adventures. Thereafter, in college 
(St. Joseph’s in my native Philadelphia) and later, I was a con- 
firmed reading-addict. This was a further approach to a career 
in writing, and a most essential one for becoming a good writer. 
My own attempts at composition, however, gave little reason for 
pride; they were as flat as the ordinary boy’s writing, and not at 
all promising. 

After entering the Society of Jesus in 1906, I had the blessing 



of inspiring teachers and the chance of a most favorable environ- 
ment. Father William T. Tallon had exquisite taste and im- 
parted to me whatever appreciation of fine literature I could 
grasp, in English, Latin and Greek. The following year, I passed 
into the class of one of the greatest practical teachers of literature 
and authorship of our day. Father Francis P. Donnelly. After 
these two years of wonderfully balanced education under two 
masters, I had deep set in me the ambition to write, and the con- 
viction that they thought I could develop into a writer. That 
was the third natural step in my pilgrim's progress. I continued 
to read much, but I began conscientiously to practice style in 
writing by the imitation method taught by Father Donnelly. 

The environment was provided when I was appointed to teach 
at Loyola School, New York. The editors of America were, at 
that time, part of the community. Father Richard H. Tierney 
had been my professor of Philosophy. He was now Editor-in- 
Chief of America and took an interest in my still immature at- 
tempts. Father Walter Dwight, who was one of the most charm- 
ing essayists of thirty years ago, was Literary Editor and treated 
me as a protege. Father J. Harding Fisher was Associate Editor 
and taught me much in the matter of clear and incisive composi- 
tion. Four years of associating with these and other Editors in- 
ducted me into magazine journalism, and marked the fourth step 
in my advance. By this time, I had gained confidence, but real- 
ized that I had much practicing to do before I could claim to be 
an author. What I had studied, I had an opportunity to teach 
to a most appreciative and inspiring Freshman Class at Boston 

During the course of theology that followed, I used to distract 
and amuse myself by attempting various forms of creative and 
imaginative writing, and to help myself by trying to turn my 
theological studies into plain, cogent and brief treatises. I did 
not strive to have much published, because I knew the stuff was 
not worthy of publication. I was striving solely to familiarize 
myself with the tools of the writer, to have bouts with the thought 
processes, to discover what ability I might have. 

The necessity and the duty of my being a writer came with my 



appointment to the Staff of America in the summer of 1922, and 
the permanent assignment as Literary and Book Review Editor 
in 1923. For the first few years, I struggled for perfection. Many 
of the articles published were written and rewritten a half-dozen 
times. Introductory and concluding paragraphs were sometimes 
revised a dozen times. I had a high ideal for achieving only fin- 
ished and competent pieces, and sought publication of work that 
appeared to my critical judgment as satisfactory. Much that I 
wrote in the beginning was happily destroyed. 

It was most fortunate that I was forced to do a lot of so-called 
hack-writing. This took the form of book reviews, especially 
short ones that require exact condensation. It took the form, 
also, of writing the Chronicle, a summary of the news in this and 
foreign countries. Space was limited, material was unlimited, 
hence, one had to be clear in a few words. It took the form of 
editorial comments, that had to say something, and say it in- 
cisively. As a result, without realizing it at the time, I was forced 
by the needs of slavery-writing to develop a flexibility in expres- 
sion, a variety in the modes of presentation, a kind of concen- 
trated exposition of a topic. In its place, hack-writing is an 
education for one who aspires to be a distinguished writer. 

Pounding the typewriter day after day, meeting the deadlines 
each week, one gains a facility in writing. This is an asset that 
is valuable to a thoughtful and conscientious author, but a 
weapon that produces sloppy and vapid surface writing. To be 
able to write rapidly in good style-forms and with thought-pre- 
cision is a blessing to be sought. Ease in writing, however, should 
always be held under suspicion. 

The first attempt with a book resulted from pressure from 
without. St. John's College in Philadelphia needed a seventy- 
fifth anniversary history. Two appointees as historians died be- 
fore they could do much on the assignment. The anniversary 
date was approaching, and a book had to be written. Taking 
time off, two or three days at a time, I was able to complete suffi- 
cient research and study. The actual writing was a rush-job. 
The first draft, together with a very much revised manuscript of 
118 closely-typed pages, was completed in about twelve days. 



some of them consisting of fourteen work-hours. The book had 
the title Jesuit Education in Philadelphia, and was issued in 1927. 
It was a useful, but not a great, book. 

Encouraged, that same year I gathered together the better 
Christmas poems published in America and edited them under 
the title of The Eternal Babe, This led to a larger collection of 
America poems, issued in 1929, with the profound and simple 
title America Anthology, Surprisingly, the book is being bought 
thirteen years later. 

As Literary Editor, I sought confessional articles from the best- 
known Catholic novelists of the “twenties” and was wonderfully 
treated by them. Their contributions were published in 1929, 
in a really splendid book that has never been appreciated. Is 
not a volume carrying specially written articles by Agnes Rep- 
plier, Kathleen Norris, Frank Spearman, Elizabeth Jordan, James 
B. Connolly, Lucille Borden, Edith O’Shaughnessy, William 
Heyliger, Francis J. Finn, S.J., Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton, 
Ronald Knox, C. C. Martindale, SJ., Montgomery Carmichael, 
Enid Dinnis, Compton Mackenzie, M. E. Francis, Isabel C. 
Clarke, Rene Bazin, Emile Baumann, Henry Bordeaux, — ^is not 
such a volume not a superb collection? But the great names of 
twenty years ago that are gathered in the symposium. Fiction by 
Its Makers, are not compelling attractions today. 

In the late 'twenties and early 'thirties, I was involving myself 
in a lot of literary activities that gulped up the valuable time I 
might have had for writing. However, in 1930, there emerged a 
book that had to be written, a short biography of Richard Henry 
Tierney, my former professor and my Editor-in-Chief. It took 
the form of a tribute to him and a record of America under his 

About that time, for no cause that I can remember, little dia- 
logues on the life of Our Lord began to come to me. They came 
as scraps of conversation, effortless on my part and rather sur- 
prising to me. I would jot them down and then try to find a 
setting for them. I read the Gospels again, read a number of 
scriptural commentators, read lives of Christ, read up on the 
topography and the customs of the Holy Land, and when a quiet 



day came, wrote a Nativity or a Resurrection Scene, almost as 
easily and glibly as I am writing this piece. 1 did not struggle 
with them nor did I feel the need of revising them. They ap- 
peared serially, from time to time as they were finished, in 
America. Later, they were collected in Shining in Darkness. 
Had not other duties intervened, they would have been followed 
by a series on the Passion, which I felt ready to write if I only 
knew where was the beginning, and another series on the Great 
Miracles of Our Lord. These pieces, I am inclined to think, will 
never be written, unless the original inspiration be returned as a 
gift to me. 

Bits of current living became momentous to me. Little inci- 
dents of real experience burst out imaginatively and emotionally 
and kept me uneasy until I had written them down. Some were 
published in America, some were rejected, and some were 
thought, at the time, to be a bit too bold, coming from me. 
These human interest sketches always appeared to me to be un- 
predictable curiosities. For weeks, I could turn them out with- 
out hesitation. For other weeks, I would go completely dry in 
inspiration. Whatever their worth, they were never published 
in book form, and never presented for presentation. Sometime, 
when the battle of the active life dies down to serene repose, I 
may dust them off and see what they are worth. 

Another series of writing that I plotted as the core of a book 
on the freedom of the creative artist in treating morals and im- 
morals was left as a loose series. They do furnish the basis, I 
think, of a lengthy and comprehensive treatise that I shall never 

Still another series took the form of essays on writing and the 
writer. These required a lot of thought and research, and fasci- 
nated me. Some of the essays were published, and about two- 
thirds of a large book were about ready for publication. But a 
change of duty that withdrew me from the literary killed off the 
mentality that was required for completing the series. These, 
too, I hope some day to re-examine in serenity. 

Over a period of some ten years, I had been pointing to a life- 



work, and preparing myself for its doing. As every American 
boy, 1 was captivated by Cooper and the Indians. In high-school, 
I was a fellow student with Mike Solomon and Pete Terry, 
copper-skinned Iroquois, whose gentleness and whose rages made 
me a devoted follower. As a young Jesuit, I was extraordinarily 
devoted to the early Jesuit missioners to the Redskins. My con- 
suming ambition in life was to tell the story of these French mis- 
sioners to the aborigines of New France. 

For years, in spare time during the winter, I consumed the 
volumes of the Relations, and built up scientifically a set of notes 
and references for the moment when I could do the writing. 
During the vacations each summer, I was permitted to make trips 
along the trails and live again the journeys of the pioneers of the 
seventeenth century. An immense amount of book-work and 
field-work combined to give me a mastery of my subject. I knew 
the type of writing I wanted to do, vivid, pulsating, emotionally 
charged, imaginative, accurate, clear, a simple recital of the 
simplicity of heroic and tragic men. 

Through the generosity of my Editor-in-Chief, Wilfrid Par- 
sons, S.J., and higher Superiors, I was given a leave of absence 
from editorial duties. The writing of the life of Isaac Jogues, 
Saint Among Savages, consumed about seven months of con- 
tinued and unalloyed drudgery. It is the lengthiest as it is the 
most authoritative biography of him in any language. Published 
in 1935, it is now going into the sixth American edition, has been 
published in a French translation, and was ready for publication 
in an Italian version prior to Mussolini’s defiance of Great Britain 
and the United Nations. 

The second volume, a life of Jean de Brebeuf, greatest of all the 
missioners, had reached the stage of copious notes and detailed 
outlines when the course of my life was ruled from without. Ap- 
pointed Editor-in-Chief of America, my personal interests and 
ambitions were set aside. The gruelling duties of editing a na- 
tional Catholic weekly, and the allied duties of writing, lecturing, 
campaigning, leave no time and no intellectual repose for the 
writing of books. The third volume, a combined story of the 



other Martyred Missioners, and a fourth and a fifth dealing with 
the later explorers, may be written if there is a future in which I 
may write. The hope is elastic, the ambition is rooted. 

Let no one deduce that my sentiment is one of frustration in 
writing all the books I planned. The Lord has provided me 
fully with important and interesting works to perform. If it is 
His Will, I shall not be denied the privilege of writing the many 
books of many types about which I have dreamed. 

editor’s notf. Father Talbot’s books include Jesuit Education in Philadel- 
phia: St. Joseph’s Ckillege, 1851-1926, 1927, The College; Richard Henry 
Tierney, Priest of the Society of Jesus, 1930, America Press; Saint Among Sav- 
ages: the life of St. Isaac Jogues, 1935, Harper; Shining in Darkness: Dramas 
of the Nativity and the Resurrection, new edition, 1942, America Press; he 
also edited America Book of Verse (1928), Eternal Babe (1927), and Fiction 
by Its Makers (1929), all issued by America Press; and wrote the chapter, 
Catholicism in America, pages 528^42 of America Now, 1938, Scribner. 


Biographer and Novelist 

MARGARET TROUNCER was boiti in Paris near the Parc Monceau in 
1906. She is the daughter of James Duncan Lahey, of Virginia, 
U. S. A., and of Nina de Scalon of St. Petersburg. Her grand- 
father was General Alexandre de Scalon; one unde, the Baron 
Girard de Soucanton, was aide-de-camp to the late Tsar; her 
great uncle, George de Scalon, was vice-regent of Poland. On 
her father's side, she is the niece of Margaret Lahey of New York, 
who binds books for the Pierpont Morgan collection. 

She had a very interesting childhood in Paris, sharing a tutor 
with her brother Alec, attending the services of the Greek Ortho- 
dox religion, listening to the music of the great classic composers, 
— ^both her parents are devoted to music — ^visiting antique shops 
and museums, and going often to dream in the gardens of Petit- 
Trianon. Her mother used to visit Versailles before she was 
born, and Margaret says she does not remember the time when 
she did not understand the spirit of the place by a kind of intui- 
tive sympathy. Her aunt, Margaret Lahey, tells the story that 
when she took her niece to Versailles as a tiny girl, the child was 



haunted by the thought that Queen Marie Antoinette picked 
roses in the garden. When Margaret was told that she had been 
guillotined, she said: “Did her head bleed much?“ She began to 
live almost entirely in a world of the imagination, and her nurse 
had to stop the pram outside curio shops, while Margaret spun 
all manner of fairy tales about the fair ladies of the eighteenth 
century who had owned the exquisite trinkets. 

In 1914, however, this charmed existence among all kinds of 
intellectual people was brought to an end, and the family came 
to live in England. Margaret sought refuge in books from the 
grief of exile. She went to the Derby High School, and in 1924, 
came up to St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, where she studied for the 
Honours School of English Literature and Language. She took 
her degree of M.A. in 1931. During her time at Oxford, in the 
intervals of working hard, dancing, going for long country walks, 
she produced a Medieval Mystery play about the life of Our 
Lady, which drew tears from her audience. Her angels were 
gowned and haloed after the manner of Botticelli. 

In 1926, she met Tom Trouncer, who was up at University 
College and the head of the Boat Club, and after a brief court- 
ship, she became engaged to him. Their marriage was postponed 
for four and a half years, as neither of them had any money, and 
Tom was studying law. 

In 1930, Margaret came into touch with the Oxford Domini- 
cans, and partly as a result of historical discussions, became a 
Catholic. In 1931, she married Tom Trouncer, and they lived in 
a small flat in London, near Kensington gardens. She was not 
naturally domesticated, but she made a great effort to create a 
happy, beautiful home-life. During their holidays together, her 
husband and she used to go down the great French rivers in their 
portable, collapsible rubber canoe. It was travelling down the 
river Loire that they made excursions into Touraine and did a 
little historical reconstruction on the life of Louise, duchesse de 
la Valli6re, whose charm had begun to captivate her imagination 
during her yearly visit to Versailles. Almost every autumn, she 
combined her time of historical research with a retreat at Meu- 



don, under the great mystical theologian, P^e Garrigou- 
Lagrange. There, near the home of Jacques Maritain, she met 
many famous Catholic Frenchmen — Stanislas Fumet, Henri 
Gh^on, P^re Bruno. It was about that time that she acquired a 
passion for reading Mauriac, Claudel, Bloy, and Br^mond, as 
well as the great Spanish mystics. 

Tom and Margaret Trouncer could not live on their income, 
so in 1934, she started to write the life of Louis de la Valliere. 
She was encouraged by Shane Leslie, a firm friend of hers whom 
she had met at the household of Wilfred Meynell. 

One day, after a meeting of the English Aquinas Society, she 
met T. S. Eliot. She told him she had just written a book, and 
he asked her to bring it along to his office, in Faber’s of Russell 
Square. She was just expecting her first baby, so she was ex- 
tremely anxious to place the book, in order to help pay expenses. 

Imagine her delight when, on May 3, 1935, she heard that her 
book had been accepted! It was during the celebrations of the 
Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary. The streets were 
gay with flags and banners. Margaret said she felt so rapturously 
happy that morning, to have created a book and to be expecting 
a baby, that she almost walked on air and imagined the banners 
had been unfurled in her honour. 

The life of Louise appeared in April 1936 under the title of 
Courtesan of Paradise, It got the Book Guild Recommendation 
and was widely acclaimed by the reading public. 

In order to distract her mind from the loss of her first child, a 
son, Margaret set about collecting material for her life of the 
marquise de Pompadour. In this, she was helped by a friend, 
Gilbert Barker, who shared her love of the French dix-huitieme, 
gave her advice and lent her books. He since wrote a life of Wat- 

The Pompadour appeared in 1937, and paid for a lovely visit 
to Venice and Portofino in May. This book was chosen by the 
First Edition Club to rank among the hundred best produced 
books of the year and is now on exhibition in the Victoria and 
Albert Museum. It certainly was a beautifully bound book, with 



fine illustrations. It received glowing tributes in the leading 
papers. The Observer talked of the author’s scholarship, rare 
sense of style and delicacy of perception. 

After this^ four years went by, during which she was occupied 
and over-joyed at the arrival of a lovely daughter, Susan Angela 
Mary. She had no time or energy left to write. 

With the outbreak of the War, in September 1939, she decided 
that she must use her writing to provide escape into beauty and 
holiness for the English-speaking people who were now facing 
their hour of trial. So she started writing her first novel. Go 
Lovely Rose is a story which attempted to trace in the person of 
Richard de Hautefontaine, the threefold development of love, 
beginning with human passion, ascending to a perfect human 
love, and finally reaching its fulfillment in the mystical love of 

The book was written in the night hours, at the end of an ardu- 
ous day spent looking after a lively and very head-strong daugh- 
ter. Those who have not tried this two-fold experiment, have no 
idea of how difficult it is, and how it can take toll of one's nerv- 
ous energy. But it is strange how artists often create their best 
work in the most difficult circumstances. 

It was during that dark winter of waiting, 1939-40, before the 
horror of the fall of France and the bombing of Britain had fal- 
len upon us: Margaret was evacuated in the depths of the coun- 
try, far from London, far from her friends and her familiar sur- 
roundings. She had to live entirely in the realm of the spirit, in 
order to survive at all. 

Her husband, who was in the Royal Air Force, Volunteer Re- 
serve, was called up in March, 1940. He had a very serious crash 
in May, but, nothing daunted, went on flying almost directly he 
had left the hospital. He crashed again, this time fatally, in 
October of that year, and was buried in London. 

Margaret dedicated Go Lovely Rose to him: 

**He lavished that magnificent kindness 
Which nurtures creative art ” 

He said, shortly before his death, “My aim in life is that you 
should write a great hook” 



The book, published by Cassells, received a fine ovation. This 
story of a rich young Frenchman who renounced the world and 
became a Carthusian after losing all his earthly happiness, com- 
forted and inspired many during the terrible months of 1941. 
Writing of it, Shane Leslie said: “What a splash of colour and 
perfumel Your fine book with its glowing philosophy, has come 
at the right moment.” The Observer praised “the grandeur of 
the theme.” The book went into three editions in three months. 
The paper shortage prevented further editions, in spite of the 
ever-growing demand for them. 

Left a widow, with extremely limited means, and a child to 
care for, Margaret was obliged to think almost exclusively of 
writing for money, rather than for the love of creation. This is 
crucifying, and may in time reduce one to doing mediocre hack- 
work. There should be some protection for authors, to enable 
them to write when their Muse whispers in their ears, and not 
when hunger gnaws at their vitals. 

She then wrote Why So Pale (Cassells, 1942), a novel contrast- 
ing Christian and Pagan love, set in a background of the Court 
of the Empress Eugenie. Her last work (1943), The Smiling 
Madonna, is a study of Christian art, marriage, and contempla- 
tion. It is the story of a Polish painter, Nicholas, who marries a 
Russian aristocrat, Claire, and they paint in poverty in Paris. It 
aims at showing how the interior life of prayer gives the most 
consummate happiness. 

She hopes, soon, to return to French historical biography of 
the eighteenth century, for reconstruction of the past, even in 
tiny details, is her delight. 

Margaret Trouncer thinks that writing is a heavenly gift, a 
tremendous responsibility for which the recipient will have to 
give account. It is not just an amateur fancy one can indulge 
and cultivate in a diletante manner. In the life of the artist, it 
can have all the impetuosity of a cataract. As well prevent the 
sky-lark from soaring, as prevent the born writer from writing. 
One must have something to say, and for that it is necessary to be 
avid for life, and in some sense, to have thought, suffered, read, 
observed much. There is no short cut. 



Style? One's style should be one’s guts: something integral to 
oneself. The force of the cataract will in time carve a way in the 
river bed, and the polishing of the stones will come afterwards. 

She often says that she does not believe in careers for women, 
that a wife should devote all her energies to keeping her husband 
and children happy, and to making their home a centre of beauty 
and life for unhappy people. She still thinks so. But, if there 
is a spare moment over, or if necessity or vocation compel one, 
then one should write. Not necessarily with any edifying pur- 
pose. No, the problem of the Catholic writer resolves itself into 
portraying the truth as one finds it. 


Children's Books 

A YOUNG FRIEND of mine, around nine years old, when asked at 
school, to write about her past life, began dramatically: “I was 
born in the slums of Amsterdam while my heartless mother was 
enjoying herself in Pans.” Nothing as exciting happened to me. 
I was born in a comfortable house in Rotter^m in 1908, with 
both my parents very much in attendance and suitably impressed. 
In fact, I have learned that they made quite a fuss over me. My 
father was an officer in the Royal Dutch Navy, and we moved 
about quite a bit. That may have been the reason I didn’t go to 
school until I was ten years old and already knew how to read 
and write. I read so voraciously, in fact, that I knew all about 
school long before I went there, and the day that I was first told 
to stand in the corner was a red-letter day for me! I’ve tried to 
express this delight in my book Pegeen, where a little girl also 
goes to school late and enjoys experiencing what she had so 
often read about. 

Another happy day was when I first discovered that I could 
write down my own stories. I immediately began a long tale 



about two little girls called Mientje and Cateau, their adventures 
interrupted by sums and grammar and punctuated with inkblots. 
However, what worried me most was the cramp in my fingers 
I got from writing. Being only eight at the time, the physical 
effort was greater than the mental, and I remember wondering 
whether grownups also had to go through such agony whenever 
they wrote. 

In the first years of my life my mother spoke English with me. 
Her mother was Irish and had spoken English with her. Later 
on, when my brothers were born and Dutch nurses came into 
the house, my mother stopped talking English with us and I 
forgot a great deal of it. But I believe the ease with which I 
express myself in English is due to the fact that it was my chief 
language as a baby. 

My parents were not Catholic; I was the first in both families 
to come back to the Faith. The first time I felt an interest in the 
Catholic Church was when I was six years old. My father and 
mother never talked to me about religion, but they once left me 
to be cared for by a Catholic nurse who had pictures of Christ 
in her bedroom. I didn’t know who He was and asked about 
Him; so she put me on the bed and talked to me for an hour. 
She was terribly shocked that I should be so ignorant, and seemed 
to blame my parents, so I did not love her, but the story she told 
impressed me. A little later, I got a children’s Bible and I said 
I wanted to go to church. My parents, both agnostics, sent me 
with the servants to the village church: a whitewashed, chilly 
affair with nothing that would appeal to a child. There was 
only a black-coated man talking a long time in a peculiar voice. 
I decided that I had been fooled; it wasn’t a church at all; and 
I didn’t ask to go again. 

But one day when I was walking with my mother, we passed 
a Catholic Church, and I immediately dragged my mother 

“This is a church!’* I cried, snifi&ng the incense. “This is what 
I meant; this is where God is!’’ Mother thought it all very 
dangerous and unsuitable and quickly hurried me away. 



Before I went to school, my father used to give me geography 
lessons with an orange and a candle. I remember being exceed- 
ingly troubled at the idea of becoming an angel and flapping 
around between all the big round worlds in a space that never 
ended. The way my father talked about it, I calculated that 
there wasn’t much chance of my ever meeting another angel 
except once in a thousand years or so, and even when you did 
meet one there wouldn’t be much to do but sit on one of those 
round worlds and have a chat. Even if you fell off it made no 
difference, because there wasn’t anywhere to fall to. I remember 
being so troubled about it that I had to get out of my bed and 
go to my parents to be consoled. They were playing chess to- 
gether and looked very cosy and comforting. They convinced 
me that my fears were more funny than tragic. 

Of course there isn’t space enough to tell all that happened in 
my life so far, but it seems to me the best thing will be to tell 
roughly what events brought me into the Church. You see, 
most other Catholic authors are born Catholics and have to tell 
how they became authors; but I was born with an ever-wagging 
tongue, and can more fitly describe how I became a Catholic. 

When I was sixteen, we moved to Ireland, and there, of course, 
I came in close contact with the Catholic Church. I attended the 
art school in Dublin and argued about philosophy with the other 
students. I read Freud and Shaw and Dostoievsky and interested 
myself in the Montessori system of education. Presently I heard 
that there was a Montessori school in Waterford, and I wrote a 
letter to the Mother Superior of the convent which ran the 
school, asking if I might see it. I got a kind letter back, inviting 
me to come, and so one day I walked up the driveway to the 
convent door. 

I was eighteen then. I wore a bright red dress, close cropped 
hair, and was gaily swinging my round straw hat by its elastic 
band. I never saw such merriment as when the Sisters caught 
sight of me. When they had laughed their fill they explained 
that they had expected and dreaded the arrival of an elderly, 
severe-looking schoolmistress, with pince-nez and notebook. 



They couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw me ambling up 
the driveway. It was a great relief to them; and they promptly 
proceeded to spoil me. I was a vegetarian in those days, and so 
they pressed lettuce and fhiit on me every hour, for fear 1 would 
waste away in front of their eyes. They let me help with the 
housework, and in the evenings I sat in the room where the 
novices weren’t even allowed and talked my head off to a circle 
of appreciative listeners. This visit made a deep impression on 
me. 1 hadn’t known nuns could be so natural and so merry, and 
their cordiality and gifts touched my heart. When the Mother 
Superior gave me a badge of the Sacred Heart to wear I carried 
it about for a long time until it got lost. 

When I was nineteen, I went back to Amsterdam to study art, 
and there, in a library, I found G. K. Chesterton, who has since 
been my guiding light among mortals. I bought all his books, 
and felt how the sweeping broom of his intellect was cleaning 
the attic of my mind. 

In 1931, 1 went back to Ireland and met my husband, who was 
then studying at Trinity College, Dublin, and a friend of my 
brother’s. We married in 1932, and he went off to America, his 
native country, to get a position, and send for me when he had 
things settled. While he was gone, I came in contact with what 
is called “the Oxford Group,’’ and experienced an emotional 
conversion. I thought I had discovered the secret of life, and 
made a fool of myself trying to convert fellow Christians to my 
own recent immature faith; but I was blissfully ignorant of that, 
and very happy. It was around that time that I wrote A Day on 
Skates (1934). After a while, I discovered that the Oxford Group 
was good as an irritant to startle you out of your own groove, 
but entirely unfit as a daily spiritual guide. So I searched among 
churches, and chose one that woulcbi’t be too particular about 
dogma, landing in the Episcopal church. But the Episcopal 
church has many mansions, and as I practiced religion and grew 
in wisdom, I wandered higher and higher until I became a 
bigoted Anglo-Catholic. Those were the days when I would 
poke my head into a church and sniff. I could tell whether it 
was “high” or “low.” 



In February, 1934, I arrived at last in New York, where my 
first baby was born in November of the same year. When she 
was three months old, my husband got a position with the gov- 
ernment and we moved to Washington where my four next 
babies were bom and where my widowed mother came to join us. 

Meanwhile, even the Anglican church proved unsatisfactory 
and distressingly illogical; so finally, in 1939, the light dawned 
and I became a Catholic. The Cottage at Banty Bay, and, 
Francis on the Run, its sequel, were written in the Anglican 
days. They were inspired by an Irish family which I knew very 
well. The three later books, Kersti and Saint Nicholas, Pegeen, 
and, Andrtes, were all written after I entered the Church. My 
mother entered a year after I did and just before the Nazi in- 
vasion of Holland, which gave her the strength to bear that 
terrible blow. 

I feel very fortunate and very happy, and I hope in some way 
through my books to give children a feeling for the beauty of 
life and its fun. And also its holiness. And the only advice 
I have for Catholic authors is to love God and neighbor as much 
as they can. For without love, nothing is ever created. 

editor's note: Hilda Van Stockum is, in private life, Mrs. Ervin Marlin. 
Her later books for younger readers, illustrated by the author, indude Kersti 
and Saint Nicholas, 1940, Viking; Pegeen, 1941, Viking, Andnes, 1942, Viking. 


Story and Play Writer 

IN AN OLD INN ill E nETrow Street in e wee town in Ulster, I first 
opened my bEby eyes on IrelEnd. The dEte wes the eleventh of 
September, 1880, the house wss known es WElsh’s Hotel, End the 
little town wes MEgherE, County Derry. 

A country hotel in those dsys of difficult tnivel, before the 
motor hEd come to mEke every plEce in the country ncEr End re- 
duce E life, thEt WES once VEried End picturesque, to e dull uni- 
formity, WES ElwEys full of interest End rich in colour. It wes 
usuElly E WErm, kindly hostel, with e geniEl host End e motherly 
womEn-of-the-house, End e cosy “commercisl room,” thEt glowed 
with E blEzing turf fire. End greEt big feEther beds, into which 
you plunged es in e seE, End e yErd thEt wes frEgrEnt with the 
smell of luiy End horse flesh End resonEnt with the lEughter of 
jETveys End stEble-boys. Such e plEce wes my home. End es En 
imsginEtive child I revelled in e 11 the vEried Espects of life thEt 
it WES forever mEnifesting: jErveys who never returned from e 
journey, no mEtter how short, without some Edventure to de- 
scribe or some comic or trEgic story; strange guests for whom we 



were always ready to create an atmosphere of mystery, if they 
did not bring it with them; and the commercial travellers — 
“drummers” as the Americans call them — ^who, when their letters 
had been written, would gather round the commercial room fire 
at night and, pooling their tales of joy and sorrow and wonder 
and casting their pearls of wit and wisdom with joyous profusion 
for all who cared to pick them up, provided entertainment that 
was never dreamt of in the philosophy of the cinema-goer. 

My father had gone to California shortly after the gold rush, 
and had earned enough money to enable him to come back in a 
few years, marry the girl he loved, and start in business. He was 
a grand talker, and all through my boyhood he entertained the 
neighbors and ourselves with wonder stories of the tumultuous 
and colorful land that the place of his exile had been in the 
sixties. My mother had a fine taste in literature, and awoke in 
all her children — there were seven of us — a love for books that 
has never left us. 

The eighties were a period of great political excitement in Ire- 
land. Under the superb leadership of Parnell and Davit t, our 
people had thrown themselves against the mightily-entrenched 
and cruel land system, that had kept their country so long in 
misery, and they were winning the most complete of all our 
national victories in what has passed into history under the title 
of the Land War. My father was a local leader in the proscribed 
Land League, and around our kitchen fire would gather of 
nights a group of neighbors and retainers to listen to his weighty 
words or discuss the varying fortunes of the struggle or hear my 
mother read in her sweet, clear voice the speeches of the Irish 
champions in Parliament or in the country. Those were the 
days of sonorous oratory, when eloquence still flourished and 
speeches had not degenerated into dull essays or cheap diatribes. 

But there were more than Nationalism and politics talked 
about round our heathstone. The horse was a constant topic 
and my father’s vivid accounts of his adventures and struggles 
in the great country of refuge, that our exiles had found in the 
track of the setting sun, never palled no matter how often we 
heard them. Old men, too, told again and again the long story 



of our village and spoke of our Saint Lurach of the fifth century 
and the well he had blessed for his wee town and our’s and of 
the Presbyterian patriot Watty Green, who had been hanged 
for his love of Ireland in 1798, as familiarly as if they had walked 
the cobbled streets of Maghera but yesteryear. Ireland’s rights 
and wrongs were ever being discussed, and old and young would 
thrill every time my father talked about the choice bottle of 
wine that had been given him long ago that he kept maturing in 
the cellar, not to be drunk until that day on which our day- 
dreams would come true, the old Parliament House in College 
Green, Dublin, be re-opened and Ireland became once more, in 
the words of our ballad-singers, “a nation free and grand.” 

It had always been a childish dream of mine that I would one 
day write books and, before I learned that there were such 
obstacles to fine writing as stops and capital letters, I remember 
filling a copy-book with an account of my adventures in Africa, 
based probably on my mother’s reading of Mungo Parke’s 
Travels. My Guardian Angel, however, made a country attorney 
of me instead of the journalist that I had planned to be, and I 
am grateful to him. I got from my professional work a knowl- 
edge of life and a grip of realities that would never come to me 
in the unreal world of books, and the varied characters that I 
encountered made the life of a country law office full of interest. 
There were bibulous law clerks, villainous-looking process-servers, 
zestful litigants, the wise men that were dubbed in rural Ireland 
“fireside lawyers” and the surveyors who measured land and 
made the maps in our “title” cases, like the one of whom an 
admirer declared that “he could make a map of the Seven Seas 
of the World and never miss a rock in them and he was that 
clivir that wan time when he was sick he made a map of himself 
to show the doctor where the .pain was.” 

I found that a solicitor sees life at its best and at its worst. If 
he encounters meanness, trickery, selfishness and criminality, it 
is also his privilege to find — sometimes in the most unexpected 
places — ^heroic generosity, sublime devotion to duty, unselfish- 
ness, patience, courage, the love that conquers death and the 
faith that moves mountains. 



Out of all this background I dug the materials for my Ulster 
stories and sketches, which constitute the bulk of my work and 
are concerned mostly with life in our small towns. For though 
the Law was my profession and 1 worked hard at it, 1 could no 
more refrain from scribbling than a bird can from singing. At 
odd moments in my office or when my colleagues were playing 
golf or cards, I wrote the stories which make up my first book. 
The Yarns of a Country Attorney, published in 1917. It got a 
very favorable reception from the Press, including a long review 
by the late Cecil Chesterton in his great brother's paper, and it 
is still selling after twenty-five years. It is probably the most 
popular of my books, although my own estimate of their re- 
spective merits is not that of the public. 

It was followed two years later by a novel of the Young Ireland 
movement of a hundred years ago entitled The Next Time. Into 
it I put more of my boyhood's dreams and aspirations than into 
any of my other books and my own children, at least, like it the 
best of them all. It still finds readers at home and has had a 
great success in Belgium where it was translated into Flemish by 
the patriot lawyer, Lodewijk Dosfel-Tysmans and his clever wife. 
The latter told me that the story had become so popular in their 
country that she knew a reference to its young hero to have 
evoked tremendous applause when it was made by a speaker at 
a political meeting. 

Before these books were published, however, I had my first 
play performed in 1915. It was a comedy entitled The Pope in 
Killyhuck and it leaped at once into a popularity which it never 
lost. After twenty-seven years' playing it is still possible to say 
of it, as a producer wrote me last month, “I think there is no 
Ulster comedy draws more crowds than The Pope in Killyhuck. 
The strange thing about it is that, though it is a satire on Orange 
obscurantism and bigotry, I managed to write it with such good 
humour that it is even more popular with Protestant play-goers 
than with Catholic ones. Though it must have been played 
hundreds of times in the theatres of Belfast, it never had in its 
long life a bad week in any of them; and it is almost the only 
thing about which Orange and Green agree in that turbulent 



city. I think that the chief reason for the play’s popularity is 
that my boyhood, passed as I have described, and my legal career, 
taught me to see the good points in all sections of our divided 
Ulster people and to love them all for their common humanity. 
A Belfast paper has described the comedy as “one of those good 
things of the stage, which have the gift of perennial youth and 
freshness” and an English actor has written of it that “Killybuck 
is the Charley* s Aunt ol Ireland, but it will be still running when 
that ancient maiden has stopped for want of breath.” The play 
and its characters are so familiar now to everybody in Ulster that 
they have passed into the common speech of the province. “You 
cannot run this Parliament on the lines of the Auction in Killy- 
buck/* a Member of Parliament shouted to a Cabinet Minister 
across the floor of the Belfast House of Commons, and quite 
recently I saw a leading article headed “Killybuck Outdonel” 
Whilst 1 was establishing my reputation, such as it is, by these 
writings, my education was completed for me by my being sent 
to jail. I don’t claim any special credit for that, because when 
I went to jail it was not hard to get there. It was during the 
Sinn Fein fight for Irish freedom, and when a foreign Power is 
trying to hold down a people struggling to be free, they cannot 
afford to be too squeamish about constitutional rights. So, 
though I had never handled anything more deadly than an At- 
torney’s Bill of Costs, I found myself locked up amongst gun-men 
on the rather comprehensive ground that I was “suspected of 
acting, having acted or being about to act in a manner preju- 
dicial to the restoration and maintenance of Order in Ireland.” 
An unknown warrior amongst my fellow-prisoners was, however, 
more discerning than my jailers, because, when I was being 
taken out of my cell one morning for exercise, I found that the 
space on the identity card on the cell door intended for the de- 
scription of my crime, which had hitherto been left blank, was 
now filled in in pencil. This is how it read: “Offence. Inflicting 
on an unoffending public The Yarns of a Country Attorney.** 
Before the enemy had captured me I had gone “on my keeping,” 
as the Irish phrase had it. That is to say I was hiding in glen 
and on mountain and in the cabins of the poor from the police 



and military who were seeking me. I described my experiences 
in what was at the time a sort of Irish '*best>seller” and which I 
called On My Keeping and In Theirs. The book got a most 
generous reception in England and America as well as in Ireland. 
Even that organ of British Conservatism, The Observer, whilst 
demurring to what it called its “holiness” and “sentimentality,” 
described it as containing “the fairest and most good-humoured 
account of the whole affair” that it had seen “coming from any 
Sinn Fein quarter.” 

An Irish-American critic said: “The War of Liberation pro- 
duced so many good books that one almost regrets that it is over. 
From none of those I have read did I get so much delight as I 
did from Louis J. Walsh’s On My Keeping. The book reached 
me at 8 in the evening and notwithstanding my doctor’s counsel 
to be in bed at 10, it was 2 a.m. when I turned in; and I roamed 
the Glens of Antrim, Derry Jail and Ballykinlar before I woke in 
the morning. It may seem an exaggeration but I sincerely be- 
lieve that by this little book the author has written his name on 
the lists of Ireland’s Immortals.” 

Besides “Killybuck” I have to my credit these playes: The 
Guileless Saxon, The Deposit Receipt, The Grand Audit Night, 
Equity Follows the Law, and Nothing in His Life Of these the 
most frequently acted is the last-named, which a reviewer in the 
Irish Independent described in these terms. “Louis J. Walsh has 
written nothing better and probably nothing as good as this 
three-act play of life and character in the North. Though the 
action in part occurs as far back as 1911, and is enlivened all the 
way by a recurring note of comedy, the piece is really a drama of 
the Black and Tan War, pitched in a key of heroic tragedy. The 
characters without exception are excellent; so is the plot. It 
would be hard to beat the fine climax, where a country doctor of 
blatant Orange sympathies and a kindly heart finds patriotic 
salvation when brought up against the realities of the ill-matched 
struggle, and dies for Ireland with a prayer on his lips.” 

My other books, all of which have been popular, are two 
volumes of Ulster short stories. Twilight Reveries and Our Own 
Wee Town, a life of the Irish revolutionary leader, John Mitchel, 



and a book of reminiscent essays on men and places entitled Old 
Friends, Of this last book an over-kindly reviewer wrote: “What 
is the secret of this author, who has captured the hearts of so 
many and divers men? It is that he holds there is nothing more 
beautiful or more interesting than the mind of an unspoiled 
boy. And Louis is a boy still — the Peter Pan of the Law Courts.” 

Of course, too, I have written all sorts of newspaper and maga- 
zine articles and now that “after life’s fitful fever” I can sleep 
well on the Bench — at least when advocates are unduly long- 
winded — I have begun to write an autobiography. The world 
will, however, have to struggle on without that book till it gets 
sense and returns to the ways of peace. I don’t wish to be com- 
peting for the limelight on its narrow stage with actors like 
Hitler or Roosevelt or Stalin or Mussolini. When the wide-eyed 
little listener, who once saw pictures in the red turf as his mother 
read aloud from Kickham or Dickens at the kitchen fire in 
Walsh’s Hotel, sees his name in print on the title-page of the 
book which he then dreamed of writing, he wants it to have a 
chance of being read. 

editor’s note: The author is Judge of the Irish District Court, Letterkenny, 
County Donegal, Ireland. His books, all available from the Irish Industries’ 
Depot, 780 Lexington, New York City, include The Yams of a Country At- 
tomey: Ulster stories and Sketches; The Next Time: a novel of ’48; Twilight 
Reveries: Ulster Stories and Sketches; The Life of John Mitchel; Old Friends: 
Memories of Men and Places; and the plays. The Pope of Killybuck, The 
Grand Audit Night, The Guileless Saxon, The Deposit Receipt, Equity Fol- 
lows the Law, and Nothing in His Life, 

SOME YEARS AGO I was askcd to draw up a list of all the major 
articles I had by that time contributed to reviews and of any 
other publications which 1 had brought out. That list, brought 
down to date, is before me now, and I see that at one time or 
another articles over my name have appeared in the United 
States, Great Britain, Ireland, India, Belgium, Italy and Ger- 
many. All of them have been concerned with some aspect of 
what we broadly call “the social question,” so that I am forcibly 
reminded of the foresight of a Jesuit director of studies (the late 
Father Michael Maher, author of a well-known text-book of 
psychology) who advised me, so long ago as 1911, to prepare 
myself for work in that field. At that time Catholics in Great 
Britain were being awakened to the need for developing Catholic 
social teaching by Father Charles Plater, S.J., one of the founders 
of the Catholic Social Guild and its most active promoter, and 
for many years now I have had the privilege of being associated 
with the growing activities of the Guild, which has published 



much of my work, primarily with a view to helping its study-clubs 
throughout the country. 

1 see that the list I have mentioned is headed by an article in 
the Jesuit Irish quarterly Studies for July 1916. The theories 
about the origin of sovereignty put forward in certain modern 
Catholic text-books having left me dissatisfied, this article was 
written to show that the political views of Francis Suarez, S.J. 
(which I believe to be representative of the great medieval 
thinkers also) were much more satisfactory. I have since had the 
opportunity of lecturing on this subject in the University of 
Oxford, and am now at work on a book intended to present 
Suarez politicus to modern readers. 

It would be tedious to enumerate all the other articles on the 
list, on such topics as the Just Price, the errors of Henry George, 
economic planning, the Labour Party, and the social encyclicals. 
However, a series of three in the monthly organ of the C.S.G. 
(The Christian Democrat) may just be mentioned because they 
were later expanded into a pamphlet which had a surprisingly 
large sale. The series dealt with the attitude of Catholics to 
Communism, and appeared in 1925. By that time 1 was giving a 
considerable number of lectures in various towns on Catholic 
social principles, and 1 was struck by the number of parish priests 
who complained that their flocks were becoming infected with 
Communism. Communist propaganda was then very active, and 
carefully slurred over the intrinsically anti-religious aspect of 
Marxism. To many Catholic workers it appeared as merely a 
ginger group of labourites. In the series mentioned the lesson 
was driven home that “No Catholic can be a Communist." The 
three articles were reprinted as a pamphlet by the C.S.G., which 
was rapidly sold out. Then the Catholic Truth Society asked 
me to write a special pamphlet on Communism for them; this 
was published in the following year. The first impression was 
exhausted in a few weeks, and I heard that very many copies had 
been bought by communists in order to destroy them. That the 
pamphlet served its purpose was shown when an important trade- 
union sent a representative to me to express its gratitude for the 
assistance the pamphlet had afforded in fighting communists 



within the union. Several editions and many impressions of the 
pamphlet have followed, and something like 100,000 copies have 
been sold. In 1934, again at the request of the C.T.S., I prepared 
for them another pamphlet {Communism and Religion) of a 
more advanced sort, and intended to appeal to a less popular 
audience. This, too, has had the good fortune to meet with a 
favorable reception. 

These two pamphlets were, of course, called forth by the needs 
of the moment, and the same is true of all the others I have pub- 
lished. Indeed, this is one of the chief advantages of the pam- 
phlet-form, that it lends itself particularly well to the treatment 
of current problems. This is no new discovery; it has long been 
recognized, and “pamphleteers** are a well-known type in the 
realm of literature. Nevertheless, there is an important differ- 
ence between the pamphlets published by the Catholic Social 
Guild and those issued as part of some political controversy. 
The latter are meant to serve some immediate purpose only; 
they are essentially ephemeral. The former are not primarily 
controversial, but expository, and they are intended to be of use 
to social students for a tairly long time. If I may take as an 
example my pamphlet on The State, this was called forth by a 
demand for an explanation of the principles of totalitarianism 
as compared with nineteenth century “Liberalism** and with the 
Catholic view of the State. Today, four years after it was pub- 
lished, it is still serving as a small text-book for study-clubs, and 
will probably continue to do so for some time to come. 

A further advantage of the pamphlet as a vehicle for Catholic 
teaching on social questions in Great Britain is its cheapness. 
The great majority of our Catholics, especially of those interested 
in this teaching, are by no means well-to-do. They cannot afford 
to buy many books; often enough, none at all. But the pam- 
phlet suits their purse fairly well. Moreover, it is very portable; 
it can be slipped into the pocket and read at odd moments, or 
shown to non-Catholic workers — say, at lunch time — thus serv- 
ing as useful propaganda. An amusing counter-proof of this 
occurred with regard to the first pamphlet I ever wrote {Ele- 
ments of Economics, 1918) now long out of print. One morning 



a clerk in a certain office was jeering at a Catholic employee 
about the Church’s backwardness in social teaching. He con- 
trasted it with his own sect, and, after saying that he had at- 
tended, the previous evening, a lecture on economics by a Prot- 
estant clergyman, he produced from his pocket a pamphlet sold 
after the meeting and recommended by the lecturer. This he 
presented to the Catholic, sarcastically advising him to study it. 
The latter, much to his surprise, found it was no other than the 
Elements! The tables were turned on the critic, and the rest of 
the staff had a good laugh at his expense. 

This incident leads me to say a word about a real difficulty 
which arises from the fact that our pamphlets have to be aimed 
at as large a section of the public as possible. They are primarily 
for Catholics, particularly the workers; but naturally the Catho- 
lic Social Guild wishes them to be read by non-Catholics too. 
Consequently, we have to take account of various levels of educa- 
tion. Experience has proved that language can hardly be too 
simple if it is to be understood by the unskilled manual worker, 
and this limits the range and depth of the ideas to be expressed. 
On the other hand, very elementary pamphlets have no chance 
of being read by well-educated people, the great majority of 
whom in this country are non-Catholics. One solution of this 
difficulty would be to have two different sorts of pamphlets, one 
sort for the well-educated, the other sort for the uneducated or 
half-educated. But we have not the funds for this; so one has 
to try to treat a subject in a way that will not be too difficult for 
at least the more intelligent of the workers and yet thorough 
enough to satisfy readers accustomed to serious literature. Of 
course, a well-run study-club helps to solve the difficulty by 
enabling those members who have had no education since they 
left school at the age of fourteen to profit by the assistance of 
better-trained minds. In this matter a priest-chairman can be 
of enormous help. 

The same type of difficulty is encountered in relation to the 
social encyclicals. Constantly one hears the complaint that they 
are too difficult to understand. No doubt this is sometimes due 
to the fact that the English translation leaves something to be 



desired; but more often the reason is that the encyclicals are 
necessarily concerned with profound moral, political and social 
principles, rather than with the detailed and localised applica- 
tions which directly affect the lives of those who read them. I 
am convinced that accuracy of translation is of the first im- 
portance, and not merely from the philological point of view. 
When that has been secured, the next thing is to grasp what the 
teaching of an encyclical really is; and, as it is usually a long 
and rather technical document, this is not always quite so easy 
as might be expected. 1 have tried to help students in this task 
by publishing the booklets A Handbook to Rerum Novarum 
(1941) and Pius XI and Social Reconstruction: an Introduction 
to the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (1936). For what seem 
to me good reasons, however, I have never taken the further 
step of formulating detailed proposals for modifying actual eco- 
nomic conditions in Great Britain, proposals which (even if I 
were competent to make them) would cause me to be classed in 
one or other of the political parties. Such proposals, I feel, 
should come from laymen instructed in Catholic social principles 
and technically qualified by industrial experience, rather than 
from a priest. 

I have given some reasons for a preference for the pamphlet 
(or booklet) as a vehicle for making known Catholic social teach- 
ing under present conditions in Great Britain. I have, however, 
published one full-length book. Capitalism and Morality (1929) 
and a shorter one called Catholic Social Principles (1929). At 
the beginning of the present war, I was planning another book 
to provide a synthesis of the views of Pope Pius XII on a new 
World Order, both before and after his election to the Papacy. 
Unfortunately, these plans were upset by developments in the 
war, which not only restricted supplies of paper for printing 
books but also in the spring and summer, of 1940, made the work 
of authorship almost impossible for me. Ultimately the pro- 
jected book became a booklet, published later in that year under 
the title Pope Pius XII and World Order, I shall never forget 
what an effort of concentration that cost me at a time when the 
tragedy of France was unfolding itself and gripping the attention 



of all who realized that they were living through one of the great 
events of history. 

It only remains to add a few lines about my literary style. If 
I may judge from reviews of my publications, I have had some 
success in attaining clarity of expression, and I am grateful for 
that, since my task has always been one of exposition. No doubt 
a legal training (of which I had the benefit in my youth) is 
invaluable for teaching this clarity. But 1 have also found it 
very useful to ask myself, when trying to express some thought 
on paper, whether my words could possibly be misunderstood, 
and then correcting them (and their phrasing) until I felt rea- 
sonably sure they could not. 

Only one thing can excuse the egotism of this autobiography 
— the hope that I may have said something which will encourage 
or otherwise assist at least one young would-be Catholic author. 

EDITOR’S NOTE* Father Watt was Ixirn in West Hartlepool, England, in 1885. 
He got his M.A. at Oxford University, and his B.Sc.£con at London Univer- 
sity. He became a convert to Catholiasm in 1906, qualified as a solicitor in 
1907, joined the Jesuits in 1908, and was ordained in 1920. He served as 
chaplain at the American College, Louvain, 1920-22, and has been on the 
faculty of Campion Hall, Oxford, since 1923, as Professor of Moral Philosophy, 
from 1923-37, and of Social Economics, since 1937. He is a lecturer for the 
Catholic Soaal Guild. 


I WAS BORN in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and when I was 
about six years old I started taking piano lessons. I liked music 
quite well and when I was fifteen years old, got ready to take the 
Teacher's examination from the Toronto Conservatory of Music. 
Every summer this institution sent examiners throughout the 
Dominion of Canada to the principal cities and towns. Ex- 
aminers from McGill University, the Trinity College of London 
and the Royal Academy of Music also traveled throughout the 
country holding tests. All year we prepared for the examiner, 
practicing the designated exercises and compositions assigned to 
the respective grades. We had written examinations, too, in 
harmony, counterpoint, musical history and composition, etc., 
and when we had passed the requirements in both theory and 
instrumental work, we were awarded a diploma. 

1 remember how happy I was, that summer when I was fifteen, 
when I found I had passed the Teacher's examination in piano 
with first class honors and henceforth could style myself an As- 
sociate of the Toronto Conservatory of Music (A.T.C.M.). That 



September I left Regina to enter fourth year high school at 
Mount Saint Vincent, Halifax, Nova Scotia. My mother had 
graduated from this school some twenty-five years before. I was 
very happy here and at the end of the year received a Licentiate 
of Music degree. But the sudden illness of my father cut short 
any further stay in Halifax. Within a few months the family 
was on its way to California. I was not very anxious to say good- 
bye to Canada, or to my friends at school. But it had to be, and 
within a few months I was happily settled in the United States. 

When I was living in San Diego, California, a friend of mine 
decided to go to New York. She had ambitions to be an actress, 
if not on Broadway, at least on the radio. So Ruth left sunny 
California, via a Greyhound bus, to seek fame and fortune in our 
country’s largest city. I remember being quite envious of her 
good luck. It was the summer of 1932 and I had just finished my 
sophomore year at college. How long it seemed until 1934, 
when an A.B. degree would be mine and I, too, could go to 
New YorkI Of course I had no desire to be an actress. I would 
do great things in another line — ^advertising. 

On June 15, 1934, I graduated from San Diego State College. 
In November of that same year I arrived in New York City to 
start my chosen career. At first Ruth and I lived together, 
in a brownstone house on West 69th St. Alas! She had never 
achieved her ambition to be an actress, although she had done a 
little singing on the radio. However, she had supported herself 
for two years by doing stenographic work, and New York had 
lost none of its charms. She was still glad she had left California. 

My first months in New York were not rosy. I went here and 
there, trying to get a job writing advertising copy. Employment 
agencies — I knew them all, and they all had the same story. 
What advertising experience had I? Where were my local ref- 
erences? My samples of copy? I tried department stores, hoping 
to get in the advertising departments. (A copy writer I had met 
was making $50.00 a week writing ads for the newspapers about 
her store’s wares. Reading her stuff, I knew I could do just as 
well.) But I had no friends in the advertising world; I had never 
written anything much, save a few stories and poems for the 



college paper. And the advertising business didn’t seem to care 
whether I existed or not. 

It was on Christmas Eve of 1954, when 1 had been in New York 
just a month, that 1 decided to write a novel. 1 had a lot of spare 
time and no job. Perhaps I could write a best seller and forget 
about the hard-boiled employment agencies. So I started out to 
write a very involved story of a married couple who were quite 
incompatible, and the life of their little son in the midst of much 
domestic strife. I worked for months on this story, and when 
I had finished it and then rewritten it twice, 1 took it to a literary 
agent who was a friend of a friend of a friend. Breathlessly I 
waited, for by now I had been in New York nearly a year and it 
was time I had something to show for the experience. 

But the agent, a good soul who certainly meant to be kind, 
reported that the novel was terrible, that I had absolutely no 
talent for writing and that it would be best if I found it out right 
away. 1 was not disappointed at this report. I was just mad. 
1 decided to submit the novel to a publishing house. The report 
came back in due course, and a very nice letter with it, but it 
seemed that novel writing was not exactly my forte. I tried an- 
other publisher. This one said: “I have never seen such good 
writing with so little thought behind it.” 

I put the novel aside sadly. It was 99,000 words long, I had 
written it three times, and apparently it was not worth one cent. 

It was lucky I had a little income during these first lean days 
in New York. I never did get an advertising job. Applications 
left with Time Magazine, the United Press, the New York Times, 
etc., also with no result. But occasionally I did manage to sell 
a few items to some small Catholic magazine. Sometimes it was 
a poem for a dollar. Then again, a short human interest “filler” 
would bring in two or three dollars. In the spring of 1935 I 
heard for the first time of The Catholic Writers Market Guide, 
edited and published by Mary J. Hennessy, P. O. Box 109, 
Brooklyn, N. Y. I decided to send the necessary dollar and see 
if I couldn’t find some new markets. In reality, this was the 
turning point in my writing experience, for in the Market Guide 
I discovered a number of Catholic magazines I had never heard 



September I left Regina to enter fourth year high school at 
Mount Saint Vincent, Halifax, Nova Scotia. My mother had 
graduated from this school some twenty-five years before. I was 
very happy here and at the end of the year received a Licentiate 
of Music degree. But the sudden illness of my father cut short 
any further stay in Halifax. Within a few months the family 
was on its way to California. 1 was not very anxious to say good- 
bye to Canada, or to my friends at school. But it had to be, and 
within a few months I was happily settled in the United States. 

When I was living in San Diego, California, a friend of mine 
decided to go to New York. She had ambitions to be an actress, 
if not on Broadway, at least on the radio. So Ruth left sunny 
California, via a Greyhound bus, to seek fame and fortune in our 
country’s largest city. I remember being quite envious of her 
good luck. It was the summer of 1982 and 1 had just finished my 
sophomore year at college. How long it seemed until 1934, 
when an A.B. degree would be mine and I, too, could go to 
New YorkI Of course I had no desire to be an actress. I would 
do great things in another line — ^advertising. 

On June 15, 1934, I graduated from San Diego State College. 
In November of that same year I arrived in New York City to 
start my chosen career. At first Ruth and I lived together, 
in a brownstone house on West 69th St. Alas! She had never 
achieved her ambition to be an actress, although she had done a 
little singing on the radio. However, she had supported herself 
for two years by doing stenographic work, and New York had 
lost none of its charms. She was still glad she had left California. 

My first months in New York were not rosy. I went here and 
there, trying to get a job writing advertising copy. Employment 
agencies — knew them all, and they all had the same story. 
What advertising experience had I? Where were my local ref- 
erences? My samples of copy? I tried department stores, hoping 
to get in the advertising departments. (A copy writer I had met 
was making |50.00 a week writing ads for the newspapers about 
her store’s wares. Reading her stuff, I knew I could do just as 
well.) But I had no friends in the advertising world; I had never 
written anything much, save a few stories and poems for the 



college paper. And the advertising business didn’t seem to care 
whether I existed or not. 

It was on Christmas Eve of 1934, when I had been in New York 
just a month, that 1 decided to write a novel. 1 had a lot of spare 
time and no job. Perhaps 1 could write a best seller and forget 
about the hard-boiled employment agencies. So I started out to 
write a very involved story of a married couple who were quite 
incompatible, and the life of their little son in the midst of much 
domestic strife. 1 worked for months on this story, and when 
1 had finished it and then rewritten it twice, 1 took it to a literary 
agent who was a friend of a friend of a friend. Breathlessly 1 
waited, for by now I had been in New York nearly a year and it 
was time I had something to show for the experience. 

But the agent, a good soul who certainly meant to be kind, 
reported that the novel was terrible, that I had absolutely no 
talent for writing and that it would be best if 1 found it out right 
away. I was not disappointed at this report. I was just mad. 
I decided to submit the novel to a publishing house. The report 
came back in due course, and a very nice letter with it, but it 
seemed that novel writing was not exactly my forte. I tried an- 
other publisher. This one said: “I have never seen such good 
writing with so little thought behind it.” 

I put the novel aside sadly. It was 99,000 words long, I had 
written it three times, and apparently it was not worth one cent. 

It was lucky I had a little income during these first lean days 
in New York. I never did get an advertising job. Applications 
left with Time Magazine , the United Press, the New York Times, 
etc., also with no result. But occasionally I did manage to sell 
a few items to some small Catholic magazine. Sometimes it was 
a poem for a dollar. Then again, a short human interest “filler” 
would bring in two or three dollars. In the spring of 1935 I 
heard for the first time of The Catholic Writers Market Guide, 
edited and published by Mary J. Hennessy, P. O. Box 109, 
Brooklyn, N. Y. I decided to send the necessary dollar and see 
if I couldn’t find some new markets. In reality, this was the 
turning point in my writing experience, for in the Market Guide 
I discovered a number of Catholic magazines I had never heard 



of before. Among these was The Torch, published in New York 
by the Dominican Fathers. 

In July of 1935 I sent The Torch a poem and an article. A 
reply came after a short interval from Reverend Edward L. 
Hughes, O.P., then editor. The article wasn’t suited to the 
magazine’s needs, he said, but the poem had some good points. 
The Torch would be glad to use it. And, went on the letter, 
perhaps I might care to call at the office some day and meet some 
of the Fathers on the editorial staff? 

I had been in New York eight months, and this was the first 
time anyone had ever asked me to come and see them on business. 
I went over to The Torch that same day and shall always be 
grateful for the kind and sympathetic reception given me. Little 
did I know then that this same Dominican magazine was to light 
up for me much of the rocky road that characterizes Catholic 

I came to know the Dominican Fathers very well. When they 
asked me, in the fall of 1935, if I would like to start a Children’s 
Department in their magazine, I was properly thrilled. I didn’t 
know anything about writing for children, but I felt I could 
learn. And so, in the January issue of The Torch for 1936, there 
appieared “The Children’s Hour,’’ a monthly juvenile feature 
which I have conducted ever since. (Incidentally, it was in The 
Torch that my first two children’s books appeared as serials — 
Saints in the Sky and Lad of Lima,) 

Continual study and effort must have improved my general 
work, for while The Torch was befriending me, other magazines 
were also starting to take a few of my writings. I shall always be 
grateful to The Sentinental of the Blessed Sacrament, The Mag- 
nificat, The Ave Maria, The Little Flower Magazine, The 
Preservation of the Faith, and The Eikon, to mention but a few, 
for taking my contributions and encouraging me in those hard 
early days. 

With the passing of three years, I began to get work accepted 
by the larger Catholic journals, although rejection slips and large 
bulky envelopes with returned manuscripts continued to com- 
prise much of my daily mail. But I always found it hard to go 



to sleep at night with a finished manuscript in the house. As 
fast as material came back to me, it went out again, provided 1 
was satisfied that it was as good as I could make it. What if the 
result was only a small check, instead of the large one* I had 
aimed at in the first place? A little is always better than noth- 
ing, even that check for 80^ which I once received for a short 

Since November, 1934, 1 have been freelancing for the Catholic 
Press. Never once have I stopped working, or studying the 
markets, or suggesting topics to editors. My only source of in- 
come is from writing — ^which no doubt explains much of the 
perseverance. And I believe now that if anyone offered me a 
job tomorrow in the advertising field, I*d turn it down! There 
are a great many thorns in the path of a Catholic journalist, but 
also many joys as well — the knowledge that one is engaged in a 
good work, and, in the case of children’s literature, having a 
hand in the molding of a future generation. 

Although my eight years in New York have been spent chiefly 
in writing, I used what spare time I had to obtain an M.A. degree 
in English from Columbia University. This was in 1940. In the 
the summer of 1941 I decided to find some additional spare time 
and in June left New York for a two month vacation in South 
America. Vacation is not exactly the word for this trip, for I 
took it primarily to gather material and local color for a chil- 
dren’s book on Blessed Martin de Porres. For six weeks I lived 
in Lima, that city sanctified by St. Rose, St. Turribius, St. Francis 
of Solano, Blessed John Masias and Blessed Martin. For twelve 
fascinating days 1 lived in the interior of Peru, at an altitude of 
12,000 feet, visiting little towns in the Andes and having one 
unforgettable visit to Lake Titicaca, that beautiful body of water 
that borders on Bolivia. Much of this material 1 have been able 
to use in Lad of Lima, the first book to be written for children on 
the great patron of interracial justice. Blessed Martin de Porres. 

Occasionally a would-be Catholic writer asks me for advice. 
1 am no authority, even after eight years in the field, but I think 
such a person should always make sure he has something to say 
before he starts in to write. Too many people begin a story. 



verse or article with no real concept of what they want to get 
across. Secondly, a writer should tell his story in simple, not 
elaborate, style. Humility is a virtue that must be learned, and 
there is no use in trying to be anything but natural. That’s only 
hypocrisy, and the world had enough of that long ago. 

Lastly, a Catholic writer would do well to be really Catholic — 
in love with his religion and convinced that the Eucharistic life 
is the only life for him. For that matter, contemplation of God 
and the wonderful world He has made is a never-ending source 
of inspiration. The motto of the great Dominican Order, con- 
templare et contemplata altis tradere, to contemplate, and to give 
to others the fruit of that contemplation, could well be taken 
to heart by anyone who aspires to be a really worthwhile apostle 
of the pen. 

editor's note: Miss Windeatt is the author of St. Dominic* Preacher of Grace 
(a pamphlet), 1940, Rosary Press, Somerset, Ohio; Saints m the Sky The 
Story of St. Catherine of Siena for boys and girls, 1941, Sheed; Smg Joyfully 
St book of verse, 1942, Catholic Literary Guild; Lad of Lima*. The Story of 
Blessed Martin de Porres for boys and girls, 194S, Sheed 


AT THE AGE of scvcn, I demanded and received a violin and began 
lessons at the Convent in Chicago where I went to school. My 
devoted parents probably thought they had a genius on their 
hands until I played a solo at a school entertainment (?) three 
months later. My number was a classic composition titled 
“Scotch Lassie Jean,” and my mother, who came of a musical 
family, was embarrassed beyond words at the sounds which came 
from her child's violin. I remember being rather smug over my 
performance, so much so that I continued to study and to prac- 
tice with vim. 

I remember another tribute to my talent. One day as I picked 
up my fiddle-case after school, I remarked to a school-mate that 
I had been practicing my music-lesson. “Oh,” said she, “do you 
take violin and music too?” I continued to “take” violin and the 
supplementary branches of harmony, composition and musical 
history all through school, continuing afterward until I was 
graduated at the Chicago Musical College. During the same 
period, I studied voice as well, continuing during a residence in 
France, where I also had some violin lessons with a pupil of 



Caesar Cui. And languages and drama courses were contribu- 
tory factors to a musical career. 

1 was trained as a musician, and so 1 became a writer. 

This may have been because, for as long as I can remember, I 
read. In fact, I read so much that a man warned my mother 
that if I continued to do it my brain would become a sieve. 
Deah, deah! I can’t say that I read everything, because my father 
superintended our literature. But he had a good library, and I 
reread constantly. That is good training; for when one knows 
the story, the second reading gives an insight into character de- 
lineation and style. I did not yearn to be a writer or, indeed, a 
professional musician. Ambition never burned brightly in my 
scheme of things; perhaps because of the severity of convent 
retreats, with their emphasis on the futility of worldly success. 
At the beginning of one retreat, I was sitting at a front desk, and 
the Jesuit retreat-master, without any preamble, fastened his 
eyes on me and began. “Frances, what doth it profit a man to 
gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” That was enough 
to turn any girl toward the paths of world-renunciation, but it 
had, I am sorry to say, only a temporary effect. The truth is, 
there is a little of Aesop’s grasshopper in me. Things were very 
fine just as they were, thank you. 

Of course, I always wrote — a convent education brings that on 
naturally. But we had one writer in the family, my sister Cecilia, 
who was to carry the family laurels, in my opinion. My mother’s 
brother, the Reverend James J. McGovern, D.D., was a well- 
known Catholic writer and ardent in the cause of Catholic let- 
ters. But it never occurred to me then that writing would turn 
out to be my life-work, although I loved the tools of the trade. 
One of my most cherished gifts was a pencil-box, completely out- 
fitted. The fact that there was a secret slide underneath was 
perhaps the chief thing that has made the memory of the box a 
treasure after all these years. I have always had a flair for the 
by-products of crime. I believe that my real talent is for bur- 
glary. But my religion prevents that exciting life, though it 
would undoubtedly be more remunerative than Catholic letters. 
Anyway, it helps out in my mystery stories, for I seldom have to 
worry about a plot. 



And letter-writing was not a lost art with me — ^at least, it wasn't 
lost. I wrote and still write long letters to my patient friends. 
Perhaps, that type of writing does at least clarify ideas. But still 
there was no urge to contribute to the World's Great Literature, 
even when, at the age of twelve, I won first prize for a Christmas 
story in a Chicago Sunday paper. I forget which one, for it has 
long since passed out of existence. And why wouldn't it? 

Cecilia took courses in various types of writing and, as we 
were close companions, I learned the technique from her. But 
never with a thought of adopting the profession. Once in a 
while, I'd borrow her typewriter and work on an article or short 
story, and, if they saw print — ^accompanied by a small check — 
I'd determine to try again — sometime. And return to my fiddle 
and my vocalizing. But the germ was planted, and soon the 
desire to write was to rear its ugly head. 

Came a blank in my life when I had “nothing to read.'' We 
were living in St. Germain-en-Laye, a suburb of Paris. Ameri- 
can magazines were prohibitive in price, and French was not 
recreational reading for me. One evening, I said wistfully to 
Cecilia: “I do wish I could get hold of a good story.” She sug- 
gested that I write one myself — the kind I would like to read. 
So I did, over a period of time, and found it very interesting to 
work the tale out. It was a five-thousand word story, and I re- 
wrote it several times. On our return to the U. S. A., we learned 
that the capital on whose interest we were living had been wiped 
out during the depression. So I decided that, as I had to earn 
money some way, I would try writing. I sent out my story and 
wrote another — a Catholic story this time. Within two weeks I 
received a check for $65.00 for the first and, the day after, $40.00 
from the Catholic magazine. I was off on a career! 

The secular magazine accepted everything I sent them, and 
paid me real money; and after two years went out of business. 
(And the connection, I hope, is not too, too obvious. Lots of 
other magazines for which I did not write failed, tool) The 
Catholic magazine bought one more from me, and then declared 
themselves over-stocked. All the time, I was trying to “crack” 
the Catholic markets. It seemed to me the ideal field. My 
success in it had been notable in that I have had very little 



success. It certainly isn’t a living. In the Gallery of Living 
Catholic Authors (of whom I am not one), I wonder how many 
do make a living by Catholic letters? 

I have had two juvenile books published. The first was non- 
sectarian, Secret of the Dark House, and sold 5,000 copies in the 
first five months, and after five years is still selling. The Catholic 
papers gave it good reviews, and I’m grateful. The second book. 
Secret of the Bookshop, is Catholic, and hasn’t sold enough 
copies to pay the expenses of the publisher. Yet it, too, had good 
reviews. They say that Catholic juveniles do not sell. I have 
had three juvenile serials in Ave Marta and two in the Young 
Catholic Messenger, which has just bought a third from me. 
But no publisher wants to bring them out in book form. No 
can sell. Why? 

I get letters from children asking me to please write more 
books. And I know that other juvenile writers have the same 
experience. Catholics in general do not form libraries for their 
children, but let them get their reading matter at school or the 
public library. But when children own a book, they reread it; 
and if it’s worth reading at all, it’s worth being reread. When 
youngsters outgrow the books, they can be passed on to the 
younger members, or even kept for the next generation. For 
juveiyles do not have a time limit. The books I read when a 
child are brought out in new editions today. In fact, juveniles 
gave me my first taste of historical fiction. I confess, occasionally 
I reread some of them today, to get a complete picture of the 
times. Perhaps that is why I can write juveniles: because I like 
them and because, liking children, I can understand their point 
of view. Not that I’m one of these playful Peter Pan pests who 
never grew up! I’d rather write adult fiction any day. I have 
an historical novel begun, and am also making research for a 
novelized biography of Blessed Francoise d’Ambroise. As I have 
always been an advocate of the lighter Catholic novel, like Henry 
Harlan’s Lady Paramount, I tried my hand at a light Catholic 
novel. It isn't published. The publishers are interested only in 
the Great Catholic Novel, which must be a more serious work, 
of course, and concerned with grave matters. Mine could not 
possibly be The Great book, but, as it is concerned with average 



Catholics, neither saints nor grave sinners, I thought it might 
fill in the slender list of Catholic books which are read primarily 
for entertainment. It is titled Too Much Money. 

In the same vein, I have written and sold about 150 stories and 
articles to Catholic magazines. Yet I never know just what 
reception a new story will have. It may be the same general 
type as one already accepted, yet the second one comes back. Of 
course, most of the magazines are over-stocked; they receive hun- 
dreds of manuscripts every week. The only secular magazine I 
ever wrote for told me to send them another story when they 
accepted my first one. No Catholic magazine ever does that — 
at least I have never had the pleasant experience. Perhaps they 
take it for granted that the author will, without urging. But a 
little encouragement doesn’t hurt. 

My chief difficulty is in keeping the stories down to the short 
length required by almost all of them. And where is one to sell 
a Catholic serial? Very few Catholic magazines carry them. A 
few months ago, I sold an historical story — pure fiction — to the 
Messenger of the Sacred Heart. After it was in print, I wrote 
another story about some of the same characters; and it has also 
been accepted. That is as close to a serial (except juveniles) that 
I have ever been able to sell to a Catholic magazine. And my 
satisfaction was completed by the two facts that I was allowed 
a decent word-length and that I received a nice check. 

Catholic magazines, however, can seldom pay much. Catholic 
writers usually have to work at something else for a living. Yet, 
it should be a full time job, if we are to have enough production 
and good work. I often work ten hours a day and always put 
in a full day writing; and yet I haven’t time to write everything 
that I want to! Of course, I do some ghosting and other fillers. 
Last summer, my sister and I wrote a book on — of all things! — 
the life of a Baptist woman missionary to Africa. We had some 
notes and a few letters and a fragmentary diary to go on; but as 
the lady was the first white woman on the Upper Congo, it really 
is a book of adventure. Not once did we make any concessions 
from our own Faith: we didn’t have to. Mrs. Banks and her 
husband were both noble people who acted solely for the love 
of God, and their story should be told. The book is to be pub- 



lished soon, but whether our ghostly names will appear on the 
cover, I don't know as yet. I'd much prefer to write Catholic 
fiction, but ‘‘it's a living," as the Ole Maestro says. 

So why not write for the secular field for a living and for the 
Catholic one "for the good of the cause"? Because the two are 
completely separated. I have written a boy's book Secret of the 
Studio, non-sectarian, and primarily an exposition of the evils 
of Communism. 1 have just got the manuscript back (after 
two and a half months), with the criticism that it would not be 
a good idea to publish anything against the Russians at this 
period. Meaning the Soviets, of course. Because we approve of 
the Russian fighting-spirit, we must not disapprove of their 
ideology. And my tale certainly does disapprove! 

In an article "Book, Book, Who's Got a Book?" {America, 
August 24, 1940), I tried to show that the fault for the non- 
support of Catholic writers rests with the people who do not buy 
Catholic books and magazines. In "Calling All Authors!" 
{Rosary Magazine, June 1942), I showed the need of good Catho- 
lic novels in order to make bookbuyers. We need more Catholic 
magazines which will carry serials and stories of more than 3,500 
words. These magazines need more advertisers and larger circu- 
lation, so as to be able to pay their authors. If authors were 
better paid they would have more time to devote to their work, 
and the complaint that there are not enough interesting Catholic 
books would lessen. 

I'm fighting to remain a Catholic author, not simply an author 
who is a Catholic. Better people than I take a job daytimes and 
write at night; but I'm not the stuff of which heroes are made. 
When I write I'm happy: that's the chief reason why I keep on. 
And, too, I'd like to think that good stories are a help in keeping 
up the public morale. Catholic thought has more recognition 
now than at any period since the Protestant Revolt. Therefore, I 
remain a Catholic author. But I wish I could make a living at it! 

editor’s note* Besides her serial stories for young readers in the Ave Marta 
and the Young Catholic Messenger, Miss Young has these books for the juve- 
nile reader: Secret of the Dark House, 1934, Cupples & Leon; Secret of the 
Bookshop, 1938, Catholic Library Service.